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Is It Safe To Take Gabapentin and Trazodone Together for Sleep?

Is It Safe To Take Gabapentin and Trazodone Together for Sleep?

Gabapentin and trazodone are typically prescribed for different conditions. Gabapentin was initially developed for the treatment of epilepsy, but it’s widely used to relieve neuropathic pain and manage conditions like hot flashes and restless leg syndrome. Meanwhile, trazodone is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder.

Still, these medications can help induce sleep, making them viable off-label options for treating insomnia. But can you take gabapentin and trazodone together for sleep? This article will explain what the potential interactions between these drugs are and how to take them safely.

Can You Take Trazodone and Gabapentin for Sleep at the Same Time?

Unless instructed by your healthcare provider, you shouldn’t take gabapentin and trazodone at the same time. These drugs have moderate interaction, so combining them increases the risk of side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired judgment
  • Incoordination

Your healthcare provider may recommend both drugs only if the benefits of combining them outweigh the risks. If you’re taking one of the drugs for a condition other than insomnia, your doctor may prescribe lower doses or schedule them at different times of the day to minimize the chances of side effects.

What Is Gabapentin?

Sold under brand names like Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant, gabapentin is an anticonvulsant often prescribed in the treatment of:

  • Partial seizures
  • Nerve pain from shingles
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

The drug is classified as a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog. GABA analogs bind to calcium channels in the nerve cells, promoting the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter that contributes to nerve cell excitation and inhibition.

Gabapentin was approved for medical use in the U.S. in 1993, and it isn’t categorized as a controlled substance on the federal level. Still, some states restrict its use, so you should consult your healthcare provider for more details on the legal implications of using gabapentin in your state.

See a breakdown of the general information about this drug in the table below:



Active substance


Drug class


Primarily indicated for

  • Partial seizures

  • RLS

  • Nerve pain

FDA approval



Tablet, capsule, liquid

Available doses

  1. 100 mg

  2. 250 mg

  3. 300 mg

  4. 400 mg

  5. 600 mg

  6. 800 mg

Suitable for children


Suitable for pregnant women

Not recommended

Typical treatment duration

At least two weeks

You can only get gabapentin with your doctor’s prescription, and you should use it under their guidance.

How Does Gabapentin Work?

Gabapentin works by binding to the alpha2-delta site found in the nerve cells in your body. It affects neurotransmitters involved in conducting pain signals. The drug’s action reduces the perception of pain in conditions like postherpetic neuralgia and certain types of chronic pain.

According to clinical studies, gabapentin increases slow-wave sleep—also called deep sleep. Because of this, the drug can provide relief from primary insomnia and secondary insomnia caused by hot flashes, bipolar disorder, and alcohol dependence.

How To Take Gabapentin for Sleep

You should take gabapentin as instructed by your healthcare provider. The right dosage for you varies depending on several factors, such as your age, weight, medical history, and specific sleep problems. The typical starting dose for sleeplessness is 300 mg, taken at least an hour before bed.

What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin?

Gabapentin carries the risk of undesirable reactions, including:

  • Clumsiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing

If you experience any unwanted reactions while on gabapentin, contact your healthcare provider immediately.


What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder, anxiety, and tension. The drug’s active component is trazodone hydrochloride, a serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI). 

The drug was approved for use in the U.S. in 1981, and it’s not listed in the DEA’s schedule of controlled substances. Still, trazodone is only available with your doctor’s prescription.

Check out basic facts about trazodone in the table below:



Active substance

Trazodone hydrochloride

Drug class

Serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) 

Primarily indicated for

  • Major depressive disorders

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Tension

FDA approval



Tablet, capsule, liquid

Available doses

  1. 10 mg

  2. 20 mg

  3. 50 mg

  4. 100 mg

  5. 150 mg

  6. 300 mg

Suitable for children


Suitable for pregnant women

Not recommended

Typical treatment duration

Four weeks maximum

How Does Trazodone Work?

Trazodone inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by the nerves in the brain, increasing the neurotransmitter’s levels in the nerve synapse. Serotonin promotes the release of melatonin, a hormone your body produces when it gets dark.

Increased serotonin and melatonin levels alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, promoting a state of relaxation conducive to sleep. Clinical trials show that the drug can increase total sleep time and decrease the number of awakenings at night, improving sleep quality.

How To Take Trazodone for Sleep

When using it for sleeplessness, you should take trazodone at least an hour before going to bed. The typical starting dose for insomnia is 25 mg in tablet form, but your doctor will assess your medical history and sleep problems before recommending the best dose for you.

You should only take the drug as prescribed. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it’s time for the next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular schedule.

What Are the Side Effects of Trazodone?

Trazodone carries the risk of side effects, although patients who follow their healthcare provider’s instructions rarely experience them. Common unwanted reactions to trazodone include:

  • Blurred vision 
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Headache 
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rash
  • Unusual excitement

This list isn’t exhaustive, and you should discuss any side effects you have with your healthcare provider to get specific advice. If you experience grogginess the next day, you should avoid activities that require sharp focus, such as driving and operating heavy machinery.

What Is Better for Sleep—Gabapentin or Trazodone?

Gabapentin and trazodone can both be effective for sleep, but results can vary depending on your medical history and the nature of your sleep issues. Gabapentin has a rating of 7.4 out of 10 from 127 previous users of the off-label treatment of sleep issues, while trazodone has an average of 6.2 rating out of 10 from 841 patients. Still, it’s difficult to say whether either drug is better without considering each patient’s specific circumstances and needs. 

To get a long-term solution for your sleep issues, you should consider visiting a doctor familiar with sleep medicine. However, with less than 1% of doctors in the U.S. specializing in sleep, getting an appointment with an expert is challenging. 

The fantastic news is that telemedicine platforms allow you to consult experts almost instantly. To that end, Kick, an online performance medicine clinic, offers an accessible and groundbreaking sleep program.

Kick—Sleep Solutions Rooted in Science

Source: Miriam Alonso

Designed by a Stanford sleep expert, Dr. Alex Dimitriu, Kick’s sleep program entails a comprehensive approach to tackling sleep issues. Following your initial sleep visit, your doctor will prescribe two fast-acting medications you’ll take within the first two weeks. Kick’s sleep medicines include:

  1. Gabapentin
  2. Trazodone
  3. Cyclobenzaprine
  4. Hydroxyzine
  5. Doxylamine
  6. Ramelteon

Other features of the program include:

  • Convenience—You can consult sleep medicine experts from the comfort of your home
  • Ongoing consultations—Our expert will monitor your progress through online consultations and adjust the treatment if you don’t achieve the desired results
  • Home or local pharmacy delivery—You’ll receive your medication at your preferred location
  • Risk-free sleep visit—If our team decides Kick isn’t the best solution for your specific sleep problems, you won’t pay for the initial consultation, according to our Doctor Guarantee

How To Join Kick

To benefit from Kick’s sleep program, follow these three straightforward steps:

  1. Navigate to the signup page to start your 15-minute sleep visit
  2. Fill us in on your medical history and specific sleep issues
  3. Provide your delivery and payment details

Our expert will review your information and design customized treatment within 24 hours, helping you begin your journey to restorative sleep as soon as possible. Kick’s sleep program has earned glowing reviews on Trustpilot because it has helped many patients regain control of their sleep.

Source: Alena Shekhovtcova

How Long After Gabapentin Can I Take Trazodone?

You should consult your doctor for personalized advice on how long you should wait between taking gabapentin and trazodone. Before deciding on the best time to take these drugs, your healthcare provider will consider the following:

  1. Your health status
  2. Other medications you’re using
  3. The specific dosages of each medication

Gabapentin and Trazodone for Sleep—Potential Interactions With Other Substances


Gabapentin and trazodone can interact with other medications and substances, as presented in the table below:


Interaction With Gabapentin

Interaction With Trazodone


Can contribute to low sodium levels

Can raise the risk of serotonin syndrome


Can contribute to unwanted reactions

Can raise the risk of side effects


Can contribute to drowsiness

Can enhance drowsiness


Can raise the risk of dizziness and drowsiness

Can contribute to sedation


Can enhance the risk of respiratory distress and coma

Can raise the risk of unwanted reactions


Can enhance side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating

Can contribute to serotonin syndrome


Can increase central nervous system (CNS) depression

Can enhance the risk of irregular heart rhythm


Can raise the risk of CNS depression

Can raise the risk of serotonin syndrome


Can enhance the risk of sedation

Can enhance drowsiness


Can contribute to severe sleepiness

Can intensify dizziness and drowsiness


Can enhance the risk of side effects

Can increase the risk of irregular heart rhythm


Can contribute to impaired judgment

Can contribute to serotonin syndrome


Can raise the risk of undesirable reactions

Can intensify drowsiness


Can intensify drowsiness and dizziness

Can raise the risk of respiratory depression


Can increase the risk of respiratory distress

Can enhance the risk of adverse reactions


Can enhance the risk of sedation and respiratory distress

Can contribute to sedation


The potential for interaction is low, but risks can’t be disregarded

Can cause low blood pressure


Can raise the risk of unwanted reactions

Can raise the risk of sedation


Can contribute to fatigue or drowsiness

Can enhance the risk of side effects


No specific interaction reported, but risks can’t be disregarded

Can raise the risk of trazodone overdose


Can intensify dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion

Can contribute to dizziness and drowsiness

This list isn’t exhaustive, so you should inform your healthcare provider about other medications or substances you’re using before taking trazodone or gabapentin.

Featured image source: Ron Lach