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Understanding Trazodone and its Uses

June 15th, 2020


“Imagination is my trazodone.” - J.D. Tew

A pill bottle open and spilling onto the table

What is Trazodone?

During the early 1980s, trazodone became commonly prescribed for patients who experienced symptoms of depression. Although trazodone is mainly used as an antidepressant, doctors may prescribe it to patients with other complications; such as schizophrenia or anxiety.

Trazodone is classified under a category of medicine known as serotonin modulators. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, chemical in the brain, that works by sending signals between nerves. This chemical is used to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, memory, digestion, and sexual desire. Serotonin modulators target multiple serotonin receptors to slow down the reuptake of serotonin which leads to a higher concentration of serotonin to be used in the brain.

Side Effects

There are side effects and other possible end uses for the consumption of trazodone. Keep in mind some side effects are more severe than others...

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss or increase of appetite that may cause a change in weight
  • Dry mouth or weird taste
  • Dry eyes or blurred vision
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Loss of balance
  • A possible loss of sexual interest or erectile dysfunction in men
  • Nightmares
  • Constipation
  • Fainting or vertigo
  • If side effects become severe, contact your physician

Toxic Side Effects

Some of the more severe side effects of trazodone may be toxic; these may or may not include:

  • Increases maximum plasma concentrations (the fluidity of blood) which will cause it to be thicker
  • Liver abnormalities may occur in patients who overuse trazodone
    • The increased consumption will grow the levels of enzymes in the liver


Given the nature and possible side effects of taking a drug like trazodone, it is important to understand it’s safety precautions.

  • Keep away from children
  • Consume a lot of water
  • Trazodone should not be consumed while taking other drugs; it is recommended to inform your doctor of all the drugs you are currently taking before beginning treatment with trazodone
  • People who consume trazodone may experience similar side effects, but every person may react differently
  • Not recommended to take on an empty stomach
  • If taking an extended release tablet, take it either 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal
    • It is best to take before bed and only at this time may you take it on an empty stomach
  • Do not crush or chew
  • See if drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruits may increase side effects

Trazodone for Sleep

Trazodone can be prescribed as a use for sleep related issues...

  • Insomnia collectively includes the difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up early
  • Prescribed for patients when their everyday life becomes affected due to their sleeping issues. Usually, a doctor will prescribe trazodone at a lower dosage if the targeted end use is to increase sleep
  • It is recommended to consume this antidepressant drug before bed
  • Drowsiness is a side of effect of taking trazodone to help diminish depression. In terms of treating patients who suffer from insomnia, this side effect may actually be found helpful
  • Trazodone may replace the prescription known as Ambien, which is used to treat insomnia

Trazodone for Depression

In some cases of depression, trazodone may be taken to control and manage symptoms.

  • Trazodone’s main goal is to regulate the brain chemicals used to promote positivity, mood and social behavior
  • Because of its low consumer costs, it is commonly known as the most economical efficient way to treat depression

Trazodone Used in Treating Cocaine Withdrawal

The effects of trazodone can help to reverse the use of drug addiction, such as cocaine use.

  • There are times when the human body can develop a dependence on cocaine because it is a highly addictive drug
  • Cocaine withdrawal may cause a person to feel higher levels of anxiety, depression, and they may have a harder time sleeping
  • Trazodone can increase the chance of a person falling asleep and weaning themselves off of cocaine

Trazodone Used in Treating Dementia

Some doctors may prescribe the use of trazodone when an individual is battling dementia.

An old man looking at his pill waiting to take it with water
  • Dementia is a mental disorder that causes people to lose their short-term memory or other thinking skills. This will reduce their abilities to perform everyday tasks
  • Trazodone is used in replacing antipsychotic drugs in treating dementia; this is because the side effects from antipsychotic drugs are more severe

Pregnant Mothers and Trazodone

Some expecting women may be ordered to take trazodone for specific mental health concerns.

  • It is highly recommended that you speak with your doctor before taking
  • There are tests that prove trazodone having no negative effects on the fetus

Trazodone for Dogs

Used not only to treat mental health in humans, trazodone is sometimes used to treat a variety of issues in canines.

A dog looking at an open pill bottle trazodone
  • May be used to treat dogs who experience separation anxiety from their owners, behavioral issues, and trouble sleeping
  • Doctors may prescribe trazodone for daily consumption. Depending on the size of the dog and how serious their condition may be, the vet will prescribe different dosages
  • Trazodone is found in veterinary medicine used to treat animals, predominantly dogs, after they have surgery
  • This medicine regulates brain chemicals, specifically serotonin, and helps keeps animals comfortable post surgery
  • There are also side effects that dogs, other animals, may experience when taking trazodone
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Restlessness or shaking
  • Tremors
  • Hyperthermia or hypothermia
  • Panting

Always Seek the Advice of a Professional

Trazodone has been known for almost 40 years in aiding against symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. When appropriately taken, this drug can have significant positive effects in treating an individual for specific needs.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the above mental health concerns, please reach out to your therapist or physician to see if taking trazodone could be helpful for you.

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