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Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD
Information last reviewed 03/26/21
Trazodone is an FDA-approved medication that can be used to relieve the symptoms of insomnia, a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult to sleep, stay asleep, or get good quality sleep. It is in a class of medications called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Trazodone is available by prescription only.
Although typically used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), trazodone is also commonly used as an off-label treatment for insomnia.
Trazodone increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps regulate sleep and mood. Increasing serotonin levels can therefore help you feel relaxed, tired, and sleepy.
The effects of trazodone can last from 3-6 hours. It is fast-acting, and its sedative effects set in within 30 minutes of ingestion.
In healthy adults, trazodone will be out of your system in approximately one to three days. The dose and frequency of the medication taken, will affect how long the medication stays in your body.
Trazodone should not be taken by individuals that are allergic to trazodone or any other ingredients in this medication or individuals with a history of QT prolongation or cardiac arrhythmias. It is also not recommended for individuals taking sildenafil or any other SSRIs or MAOIs. It is important to speak with your doctor about all medications you are taking to avoid dangerous interactions.
Trazodone, like many antidepressants, has the potential to cause weight gain. Researchers do not yet fully understand why this occurs, but they believe that the medication affects both appetite and metabolism.
The active ingredient in trazodone is trazodone hydrochloride at a concentration of 50mg, 100mg, 150mg, or 300mg.
The inactive ingredients of trazodone may vary between generic brands of the medication. The branded version of trazodone is Desyrel and is manufactured by Pragma Pharmaceuticals. The 50mg and 100mg tablets contain the following inactive ingredients: corn starch, dibasic calcium phosphate, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, sodium starch glycolate, and triacetin.
As a sleep aid, trazodone is most often prescribed at doses between 25mg to 100mg. Studies have shown that lower dosages of trazodone are effective and may cause less daytime drowsiness and side effects.
Common side effects of trazodone include:
If any of these side effects persist or cause discomfort, talk to your physician.
Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
|Treatment||Type||How it works||Efficacy for insomnia treatment|
|Hydroxyzine (Vistaril)||Antihistamine||Blocks the uptake of histamine and decreases the activity of the central nervous system||Good for treatment of short-term insomnia (maximum of 4 months)|
|Zolpidem (Ambien)||Sedative||Activates GABA (a neurotransmitter) which slows down the central nervous system||Good only for short-term insomnia because it can become habit-forming|
|Trazodone (Desyrel)||SSRI||Inhibits the reuptake of serotonin causing levels of serotonin to rise||Good for the treatment of chronic insomnia because it is safe to take long-term|
|Diazepam (Valium)||Benzodiazepine||Activates GABA (a neurotransmitter) which slows down the central nervous system||Good only for short-term insomnia because it can become habit-forming|
Trazodone can be given to dogs to treat behavioral disorders. Please consult with a veterinary professional before administering trazodone to dogs or other animals.
The effects of trazodone are fast-acting and can be seen within 30 minutes of taking the medication.
For insomnia, trazodone is prescribed at doses between 25 to 100 mg orally at bedtime. Your doctor will help you determine the right dose for you. It is recommended that you take trazodone shortly after a meal or light snack.
Trazodone is effective in treating short-term and chronic insomnia. It may be a good option for some patients as it is non-habit forming and safe to take long term.
Trazodone is the generic form of Desyrel. They are both the same medication, however trazodone is cheaper. Medzino can prescribe trazodone and deliver it to your home.
Desyrel 50mg and Desyrel 100mg are the most commonly prescribed strengths for insomnia. It is also available in the dosages of 150mg and 300mg.
Trazodone is not FDA approved for anxiety, but is sometimes prescribed off-label for anxiety, insomnia, substance abuse and Alzheimer's dementia.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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