Trazadone: Side Effects, Overdose, & Treatment

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Trazodone is a prescription antidepressant that is used to treat major depressive disorder.

Today’s guide highlights the side effects potentially triggered by trazadone and the overdose potential of this non-controlled substance.

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What Is Trazadone?

Trazodone is a SARI (serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant. This class of medication shares some properties with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the most common second-generation antidepressants. 

This medication is only available with a prescription. It is used for the treatment of major depressive disorder. When used for this purpose, trazadone may: 

  • Decrease anxiety related to depression.
  • Mitigate insomnia associated with depression.
  • Increase energy levels.
  • Improve mood.
  • Boost appetite.

Trazadone has a mechanism of action that is not fully understood. Researchers believe the medication works by increasing the activity of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger associated with stabilizing mood.

Trazadone is available in generic form. The medication is also sold under various brand names, including: 

  • Desyrel
  • Trittico
  • Oleptro

Your physician will prescribe a trazadone dosage that depends on many factors, such as: 

  • Age.
  • Severity of the condition being treated.
  • Type of trazadone.
  • Underlying physical health conditions.

Most physicians initially prescribe a low dosage of trazadone, adjusting the dosage over time if required. 150mg of trazadone in divided doses is a standard starting dosage for adults. Trazadone has not been studied in children and the medication is not indicated for under-18s. 

If you are a healthy adult, a single dose of trazodone will be mainly eliminated from your system in between one and three days. 

The half-life of trazadone is between five and thirteen hours. Levels of trazadone in the bloodstream will reduce by 50% after one half-life. It will take between four and five elimination half-lives for trazadone to be completely eliminated from your system. 

an image of pills representing Trazadone

Uses for Trazadone

Trazodone was created in the 1960s in Italy as an antidepressant. The medication did not gain initial favor with the medical community due to adverse side effects including: 

  • Fainting.
  • Dizziness.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Erectile issues (priapism).

Over time, clinicians recognized the therapeutic benefits of trazadone, especially in low doses. 

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved Desyrel, the branded version of trazadone, for the treatment of major depressive disorder in 1981. 

Today, trazadone is often also prescribed in the form of branded version Oleptro. Oleptro is used for the treatment of major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and insomnia. 

Trazadone Side Effects

The most common Trazadone side effects are: 

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestion
  • Blurred vision

You should seek emergency medical assistance if you notice the following indicators of an allergic reaction to this medication: 

  • Hives.
  • Swelling of the throat, lips, tongue, or face.
  • Breathing problems. 

Men taking trazadone who experience a painful erection lasting for six hours or more should stop taking the medication immediately and consult their physician. Priapism is considered a medical emergency. Left untreated, the condition may require corrective surgery. 

You should consult your doctor if you experience any new or inflamed symptoms of: 

  • Mood changes
  • Behavioral changes
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation

Taking too much trazadone can bring on serotonin syndrome. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. The presentation of symptoms includes: 

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations

Is Trazadone Addictive?

Although trazadone is a non-addictive medication, it should only be used as prescribed to prevent misuse, especially in individuals with a history of substance abuse. 

The sustained use of trazadone can lead to mild physical dependence developing. For this reason, a tapered withdrawal is usually recommended in place of abruptly discontinuing use when treatment is complete. 

Can You Overdose on Trazadone?

It is possible to overdose on trazadone, particularly if the medication is mixed with CNS depressants like alcohol, barbiturates, or sedatives. 

The symptoms of trazadone overdose include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Seizure
  • Slowed or stopped breathing

Trazadone overdose requires immediate medical intervention. 

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Treatment for Depression and Addiction at California Detox

Depression is an aggravating mental health condition, but most depressive disorders respond positively to treatment. 

If you are suffering from depression co-occurring with an addiction to prescription medications, alcohol, or illicit narcotics, it is advisable to seek integrated dual diagnosis treatment. We can help you with that here at California Detox in Orange County. 

Choose from a treatment program at all levels of intensity for a personalized route to recovery. We offer the following programs: 

MAT (medication-assisted treatment) can be a key component of a comprehensive California Detox treatment plan for depression, substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorder. MAT is always most effective if delivered alongside these behavioral interventions: 

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapies (talk therapies like CBT and DBT)
  • Holistic therapies
  • Motivational therapies
  • Family therapy

When you are ready to unpack addiction or mental health issues, we can help you restructure your life here at our affordable luxury rehab in Southern California. Reach out to admissions for immediate assistance by calling 949.390.5377.


No, trazadone is a non-controlled substance. The medication is available in generic and branded forms, and is covered by most insurance companies. That said, you still require a prescription for Trazadone. If used as directed, it is generally considered safe and effective.
No, Trazadone and Xanax belong to different classes of medication. Trazadone is a SARI antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder. Xanax, by contrast, is a benzodiazepine typically prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders, as well anxiety triggered by depression. Trazadone is a non-controlled substance, whereas Xanax is a Schedule IV controlled substance. Xanax is potentially addictive, while Trazadone is not considered addictive.


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