Trazodone Side Effects

August 1st, 2012 by Helen Scholz

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication. It is thought to increase the activity of one of the brain chemicals (serotonin) which may become unbalanced and cause depression.

Trazodone is used to treat depression. It may also be used for relief of anxiety disorders (eg, sleeplessness, tension) and chronic pain.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to trazodone. Do not take trazodone if you have taken an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a trazodone dose adjustment or special tests:

  • bipolar disorder (manic depression);
  • heart disease;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts;
  • a history of “Long QT syndrome”; or
  • if you have recently had a heart attack.

You may have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking an antidepressant such as trazodone, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether trazodone will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. Trazodone may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give trazodone to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor.

Stop taking trazodone and call your doctor at once if you have a penis erection that is painful or lasts 6 hours or longer. This is a medical emergency and could lead to a serious condition that must be corrected with surgery. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to trazodone: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Stop taking trazodone and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • extreme mood swings, restlessness, or sleep problems;
  • dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • easy bruising or bleeding;
  • agitation, hallucinations, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination;
  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;
  • headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops; or
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling.

Less serious trazodone side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • drowsiness;
  • mild headache;
  • constipation; or
  • blurred vision.

This is not a complete list of trazodone side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.