Trazodona: What is it? Uses, Side Effects, Precautions and Available Brands

It is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the class of serotonin antagonist drugs and reuptake inhibitors.

It is not chemically related to other known antidepressant agents, such as tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

This serotonin modulator works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter found in the brain, responsible for ensuring proper mental function. The imbalance in serotonin levels is also associated with depression.

It is not entirely clear how trazodone works, but it probably inhibits the absorption of serotonin by brain cells, increasing serotonin levels. Some medical experts believe that trazodone directly improves the action of serotonin.

The Food and Drug Administration of the United States approved trazodone in 1982. It was initially manufactured by Bristol-Myers. It is sold under different brands such as Desyrel, Oleptro, Deprax, Benefit, Thombran, etc. Generic trazodone is also available and is manufactured by several pharmaceutical companies.

Trazodone is a prescription drug dispensed as oral tablets with the following concentrations: 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg.

Uses of trazodone

Trazodone is used primarily to treat patients with symptoms of depression.


Trazodone is sometimes prescribed as a coadjuvant medication to treat aggressive behavior, agoraphobia, and cocaine withdrawal syndrome. It can also be prescribed to treat schizophreniapanic disorders, and anxiety since it has anxiolytic effects.

Because trazodone is a sedative antidepressant (which often results in drowsiness), it is often also prescribed non-specifically to treat insomnia and sleep disorders.

In addition to the medical conditions discussed here, your healthcare provider may recommend this medication for other uses.

Important facts to remember when taking trazodone

Tell your health care provider if you have a known allergy to trazodone or other medicines.

Tell your healthcare provider about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as natural health products or herbs, especially St. John’s wort.

Talk with your health care provider about other past or existing medical conditions, particularly cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, cancer, heart attack, and HIV or AIDS.

Tell your health care provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about any plans to get pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your health care provider immediately.

Before undergoing any surgical procedure, including dental surgery, inform your surgeon or dentist that you are being treated with trazodone.

Trazodone can cause drowsiness and affect your concentration and judgment. Patients are advised to avoid driving a car or operating heavy equipment and other tasks that require attention. If tiredness becomes a significant problem, talk with your healthcare provider about a possible dose adjustment.

Talk with your doctor about your alcohol consumption while taking trazodone. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects.

Trazodone can cause dizziness, fainting, and dizziness when you suddenly get up from lying. Avoid getting up too fast. Slowly get up from the bed to a sitting position, and then wait several minutes before finally getting up.

Side effects

Common side effects of trazodone

The most common side effects of trazodone include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dry mouth / bad taste in the mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Stomach pain and muscle pain.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Weakness.
  • Nervousness and confusion.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nightmares.
  • Weight fluctuation.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Perspiration.
  • Blurred vision and itchy eyes

Some side effects will diminish over time, but others may persist intermittently throughout treatment. If any of these symptoms worsen or continue to extreme discomfort, patients should call their doctors.

Serious side effects of trazodone

The most severe side effects of trazodone may include:

  • Fever.
  • Difficult breathing
  • Chest pain.
  • Arrhythmia .
  • Urticaria, rash, or itching.
  • Swelling of the face, throat, legs, or feet.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Priapism.
  • Uncontrollable agitation.

Any patient who experiences these side effects should seek immediate medical attention.

In some rare cases, men taking trazodone have reported cases of priapism. This is often incredibly painful and can cause severe damage to the organ while putting the individual at risk for long-term dysfunction or sexual deterioration (persistent genital arousal disorder).

Side effects associated with bodyweight

Weight gain and weight loss are both possible side effects of trazodone. According to clinical trials, approximately 5% of people who take the medication report weight gain, while 6% report weight loss.

Often, weight gain occurs gradually over a prolonged period, while weight loss is more immediate and symptomatic of the loss of appetite, diarrhea, and nausea associated with the medication.


Cardiac patients

Those with preexisting heart conditions are more susceptible to the more severe side effects of trazodone. For example, patients with a history of heart disease are more likely to experience cardiac arrhythmia due to taking trazodone.

For this reason, it is not recommended for people who have recently had a heart attack, and any patient who has had an abnormal heart rhythm in the past should be monitored closely while taking the medication.


It is known that trazodone has specific paradoxical effects in children and young adults (aged 24 years or younger). In other words, instead of decreasing the symptoms of depression, in some cases, the drug has caused an increase in thoughts or suicidal tendencies, as well as worsening symptoms of depression.

Children treated with trazodone may be more likely than those who do not develop more severe suicidal depression. Although the specific risk has not been firmly established, physicians generally do not like to prescribe trazodone to anyone under 18 years of age.

Despite its long list of side effects, trazodone is one of the safest antidepressants, with fewer serious side effects than others in its class.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women should avoid trazodone (since there are very few studies on the effects on the fetus), and the drug should be closely monitored in patients with a history of heart disease and children under 18 years of age.

Available brands

  • Desyrel.
  • Desyrel Dividose.
  • Oleptro.
  • Deprax.
  • Benefit.
  • Thombran.