What Is Trazodone Used For?
Trazodone is a generic drug prescribed for a number of conditions. Brand names are Desyrel and Oleptro (now discontinued). A time-release version is also manufactured called Desyrel Dividose. First approved by the FDA in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), it is often prescribed in the treatment of insomnia. Other uses include generalized anxiety disorder, bulimia, dementia, other CNS degeneration diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, chronic pain, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, headache, PTSD, sleep apnea, and is also used as a sedative for cocaine, benzodiazepine or alcohol withdrawal. Additionally, trazodone is prescribed off-label for pain syndromes, panic disorder, and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).6,14
Note: There may be effective non-drug-based trazodone alternatives to be considered that your physician has not told you about. Please ask us about these.
Stopping Trazodone: Important Info Regarding Discontinuing/Quitting Trazodone
Trazodone has a half-life of approximately 6 to 9 hours and trazodone withdrawal symptoms may begin quite soon, within a day or a day and a half of the last dose. These figures would be different if a time-release version of the drug was prescribed, such as Desyral Dividose time-release tablets.
It is thought that abrupt trazodone withdrawal, as in stopping all at once can cause a rebound effect in certain neurotransmitters. This is common, especially if the natural precursors for these neurotransmitters are not being supported during trazodone withdrawal, for example, with targeted nutrition. In any case, slow and gradual trazodone withdrawal is indicated as the best overall method.1,8
Certain factors may influence how intense withdrawal can be for an individual, such as how long the drug was taken, the general health of the individual, and how high the dosage was. Taking trazodone for long periods of time may result in trazodone addiction or dependence and requires medical oversight for a safe and more comfortable experience. Protracted withdrawal symptoms are those that emerge and linger 6 weeks or more after discontinuation, and can last months, or even years. Medical research has been slow to report on protracted withdrawals. For too long, antidepressant withdrawal symptoms were regarded as new or re-emerging mental illness, incorrectly. The evidence is now overwhelmingly clear that antidepressant withdrawals are actual, and not re-emerging or newly emerging mental illness. This understanding is crucial for the proper handling and resolution of antidepressant withdrawal phenomena.13
Always consult your prescribing physician or other competent medical practitioners before stopping trazodone or any antidepressant drug so you receive the best care possible.
Trazodone Side Effects
Trazodone side effects are similar to other antidepressants. These trazodone side effects may be mild to moderate or severe, in which case, medical attention may be required. Trazodone side effects can include mild to moderate to severe reactions.
Trazodone side effects include:
- Serotonin syndrome 3,12,14
- Impaired cognitive function, impaired motor controls 3,12,16
- Increased depression 3,12
- Suicidal thoughts & behavior 3,12,14,17
- Cardiac arrhythmia, QT prolongation, torsades, other cardiac risks 3,12,14,17
- Panic attacks,panic symptoms6
- Mania, hypomania 3,7,12
- Hyponatremia 3,12,14
- Dry mouth14
- Blurred vision 3,12
- Dry mouth 3,12,17
- Dizziness or lightheadedness14,17
- Drowsiness, tiredness, fatigue 3,12,14,17
- Anxiety, agitation, hostility, nervousness, irritability, aggression 3,12,14,15,17
- Nausea, vomiting3,12
- Constipation, diarrhea3,12
- Priapism (a persistent painful erection)3,12,14,17
- Visual hallucinations14
- Abnormal bleeding3,12
Some of these side effects may require immediate medical attention such as severe allergic rash, seizures, cardiovascular events, or any severe reaction.