Table of Contents

Trazodone Side Effects: Key Information on Usage and Risks


Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

Trazodone Side Effects: What Are They?

When it comes to managing mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, Trazodone is a commonly prescribed medication. Known for its ability to treat depression and trouble sleeping, Trazodone can be an effective part of a comprehensive treatment plan. However, like all medications, it comes with a range of side effects that patients receiving Trazodone should be aware of. These side effects can vary from mild to severe and may interact with other medicines or conditions, such as low blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney disease. Understanding the potential trazodone side effects, drug interactions, and specific considerations for different patient populations, including young adults and pediatric patients, is crucial. It’s also important to know what to do in case of a missed dose or how to manage trazodone dosage to minimize adverse.


What is Trazodone

Trazodone is a medication primarily used to treat major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which helps improve mood and sleep. Available in tablet form, Trazodone is taken orally and is known for its calming effects. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and headache. Because of its sedative properties, Trazodone is often prescribed for patients who have difficulty sleeping due to depression or anxiety. Doctors often prescribe trazodone for insomnia, particularly in patients.


Trazodone Types and Dosages

Trazodone is available in different forms and dosages to cater to various medical needs. The main types of Trazodone formulations include immediate-release and extended-release tablets.

  1. Immediate-Release Tablets: These are designed to dissolve quickly and release the medication into the bloodstream right away. They are commonly prescribed for treating depression and taken multiple times a day. Dosages for immediate-release tablets typically range from 50 mg to 150 mg per dose, with a total daily dosage of up to 400 mg for outpatients and 600 mg for inpatients.
  2. Extended-Release Tablets (Oleptro): These tablets are designed to release the medication slowly over time, allowing for once-daily dosing. They are often used for patients with depression who need a more convenient dosing schedule. Extended-release tablets are usually available in dosages such as 150 mg and 300 mg.


Trazodone Uses to Treat Depression

Trazodone is used to treat major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. It helps improve mood, relieve anxiety, and promote better sleep by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. It is also sometimes prescribed for chronic pain management. Before starting trazodone, talk to your doctor about its potential uses and side effects.


How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your System?

The half-life of Trazodone is approximately 5 to 13 hours. This means that it takes about 5 to 13 hours for the concentration of Trazodone in the blood to reduce by half. Given this half-life, it generally takes around 1 to 3 days for Trazodone to be mostly eliminated from the system. However, this can vary depending on factors such as dosage, frequency of use, metabolism, age, and overall health of the individual.


How Long is Trazodone Detectable in Your System?

Trazodone can be detectable in your system for different durations depending on the type of test used:

  1. Blood: Trazodone can be detected in blood for up to 1-2 days after the last dose.
  2. Urine: It can be detected in urine for approximately 3-4 days.
  3. Saliva: Trazodone can be detected in saliva for up to 2 days.
  4. Hair: Like many other drugs, Trazodone can be detected in hair for up to 90 days, though hair tests are less commonly used for detecting Trazodone.

The exact duration can vary based on factors such as dosage, frequency of use, metabolism, age, and overall health.


How Does Trazodone Work in the Brain and Body?

Trazodone works in the brain and body primarily by affecting neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. Here’s how it functions:

  1. Serotonin Reuptake Inhibition: Trazodone inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. By preventing the reabsorption of serotonin into neurons, Trazodone increases its availability in the synaptic cleft, which helps improve mood and reduce anxiety.
  2. Serotonin Receptor Antagonism: Trazodone also acts as an antagonist at certain serotonin receptors, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. This antagonistic action contributes to its antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.
  3. Alpha-1 Adrenergic Receptor Blockade: Trazodone blocks alpha-1 adrenergic receptors, which can lead to a reduction in blood pressure and cause sedation. This sedative effect is beneficial for patients with insomnia.
  4. Histamine H1 Receptor Antagonism: By blocking histamine H1 receptors, Trazodone induces drowsiness and helps improve sleep, which is useful for treating insomnia.


Trazodone Effects on the Body

Trazodone affects various systems in the body, leading to a range of therapeutic and side effects:

  1. Central Nervous System:
    • Therapeutic: Improves mood, reduces anxiety, and induces sleep.
    • Side Effects: Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, confusion, and fatigue.
  2. Cardiovascular System:
    • Therapeutic: Can help lower blood pressure due to its alpha-1 adrenergic receptor blockade.
    • Side Effects: May cause orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when standing up), palpitations, and in rare cases, arrhythmias.
  3. Gastrointestinal System:
    • Side Effects: Dry mouth, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea.
  4. Musculoskeletal System:
    • Side Effects: Muscle aches and pains.
  5. Ocular System:
    • Side Effects: Blurred vision.
  6. Reproductive System:
    • Side Effects: Priapism (a prolonged and painful erection) in rare cases.
  7. Metabolic System:
    • Side Effects: Weight gain in some patients.


Trazodone Efficacy

Trazodone is generally considered effective for treating major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. Its efficacy varies depending on the condition being treated and the individual patient’s response. Here are some key points about its efficacy:



  • Trazodone has been shown to be effective in treating major depressive disorder. It helps improve mood by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
  • Clinical studies indicate that Trazodone can be as effective as other antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants).



  • Trazodone is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety due to its calming


What are the Side Effects to Using Trazodone, Including Serotonin Syndrome?

Trazodone, while effective for treating depression, anxiety, and insomnia, can cause a range of side effects, both short-term and long-term. Common short-term side effects include drowsiness and dizziness, which are often due to its sedative properties. These effects can be particularly pronounced when first starting the medication or increasing the dosage. Patients might also experience dry mouth, which can be uncomfortable but is generally manageable with increased fluid intake and good oral hygiene. Additionally, some individuals may encounter headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision as their bodies adjust to the medication.

Gastrointestinal side effects are also fairly common with Trazodone use, both in the short term and potentially persisting longer. These can include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sometimes diarrhea. Taking Trazodone with food can help minimize these gastrointestinal disturbances. Some patients might experience weight gain due to changes in appetite and metabolism associated with the medication. It’s important to monitor these changes and discuss any significant concerns with a healthcare provider to manage these symptoms effectively. Long-term use can sometimes exacerbate these gastrointestinal issues, requiring ongoing management strategies.

Cardiovascular side effects, while less common, can be more serious and may persist over the long term. Trazodone can cause orthostatic hypotension, a condition where blood pressure drops significantly when standing up, leading to dizziness and an increased risk of falls. In rare cases, Trazodone can cause arrhythmias or other cardiac issues, particularly in patients with pre-existing heart conditions. Serious side effects like priapism, a prolonged and painful erection, and blurred vision or eye pain, which may indicate the onset of glaucoma, are rare but can have long-term consequences if not treated promptly. Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they experience these severe side effects and maintain regular communication with their healthcare provider to ensure the safe and effective use of Trazodone, both in the short and long term.


Is Trazodone Addictive?

Trazodone is not considered addictive or habit-forming. Unlike some other medications used for anxiety and insomnia, such as benzodiazepines, Trazodone does not typically cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. However, it is important to follow a healthcare provider’s guidance when stopping the medication to ensure it is done safely and to avoid any potential rebound symptoms.


Can You Overdose on Trazodone?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on Trazodone. Symptoms of overdose can include extreme drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and in severe cases, coma or death.


Alcohol Use and Trazodone

Combining alcohol with Trazodone is not recommended. Alcohol can enhance the sedative effects of Trazodone, leading to increased drowsiness, dizziness, and risk of accidents. Additionally, mixing the two can exacerbate side effects and potentially lead to more serious issues such as respiratory depression, impaired motor control, and increased risk of overdose. It’s best to avoid alcohol while taking Trazodone.


Trazodone and Pregnancy

Trazodone should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits justify the potential risks to the fetus. Limited data suggest potential risks, including complications during delivery or withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Pregnant women should consult their healthcare provider to carefully weigh the benefits and risks before using Trazodone.


Trazodone Drug Interactions with Other Medications

Trazodone can interact with various other medications, potentially leading to serious side effects. It can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when combined with other antidepressants, certain pain medications, or supplements like St. John’s Wort. It may also enhance the sedative effects of CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines, alcohol, and antihistamines. Additionally, Trazodone can interact with blood thinners, increasing the risk of bleeding. Always consult a healthcare provider before combining Trazodone with other medications.


Treatment for Trazodone Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

While Trazodone is not typically considered addictive, if someone develops a psychological dependence or misuses the medication, treatment options are available. Treatment generally involves:

  1. Medical Supervision: Gradual tapering off the medication under the guidance of a healthcare provider to minimize withdrawal symptoms and avoid rebound effects.
  2. Therapy: Counseling or behavioral therapies to address underlying issues and develop healthier coping strategies.
  3. Support Groups: Participation in support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide peer support and encouragement.
  4. Monitoring: Regular follow-up with a healthcare provider to monitor progress and address any ongoing concerns.


Does Insurance Cover Trazodone Treatment?

Insurance coverage for Trazodone treatment typically depends on the specific insurance plan and provider. Most health insurance plans cover prescription medications, including Trazodone, especially when prescribed for conditions like depression, anxiety, or insomnia. However, the extent of coverage, co-pays, and any prior authorization requirements can vary.

It’s important to check with your insurance provider to understand the details of your coverage, including any potential out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, if you need treatment for misuse or dependence on Trazodone, insurance plans often cover mental health and substance abuse treatment, but again, the specifics can vary by plan. Always verify with your insurer to get accurate information about your coverage.


Common Insurance Plans 

Common insurance plans that typically cover Trazodone treatment include:

  1. Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Provided by employers to employees, often covering a wide range of medications and treatments.
  2. Medicare: Federal health insurance for people aged 65 and older, or for certain younger individuals with disabilities, which includes prescription drug coverage (Part D).
  3. Medicaid: State and federal program providing health coverage for low-income individuals and families, often covering prescription medications.
  4. Individual and Family Health Plans: Purchased by individuals through the Health Insurance Marketplace or directly from insurers, these plans typically include prescription drug coverage.
  5. Veterans Health Administration (VA): Provides comprehensive healthcare services, including prescription medications, to eligible veterans.



In conclusion, Trazodone can be a beneficial medication for those dealing with depression, anxiety, and insomnia, but it’s essential to be aware of its potential side effects and drug interactions. Patients with conditions like bipolar disorder, sickle cell anemia, or multiple myeloma should be particularly cautious and regularly consult their healthcare professional. Always follow the prescription label and dosing instructions, and never mix Trazodone with alcohol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without medical advice. If you experience severe side effects such as a serious allergic reaction, prolonged erection, or symptoms of serotonin syndrome, seek medical emergency help immediately. Regular communication with your doctor, especially when initiating treatment or adjusting the dose gradually, is key to safely using Trazodone. For pregnant women or those breastfeeding, monitoring pregnancy outcomes through a national pregnancy registry can provide additional safety measures. By staying informed and in close contact with your healthcare provider, you can effectively manage your mental health with Trazodone while minimizing risks.


Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At New Hope Healthcare, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:


If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to New Hope Healthcare today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-799-0806

Frequently Asked Questions

The most common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and headache. These side effects often decrease as your body adjusts to the medication.
The most common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and headache. These side effects often decrease as your body adjusts to the medication.
If you experience severe side effects such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, or signs of an allergic reaction (rash, itching, swelling), seek immediate medical attention.
While Trazodone is not typically considered addictive, stopping it abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, and sleep disturbances. It’s important to taper off the medication under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Long-term use of Trazodone can potentially lead to side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and, in rare cases, cardiac issues. Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider can help manage and monitor any long-term effects.

Get Help Now

Admission Coordinators are available 24/7.

Take Control Of Your Life and Call Now.