A poor sleep environment, work stress, a rough patch in a relationship – the list of things that can keep you up at night is endless.
But regardless of the reason your body has suddenly decided to try out a nocturnal lifestyle, insomnia’s effects on your life can be far-reaching.
If you’ve reached the point of seeking help, your doctor may suggest starting Trazodone to regulate your sleep cycle.
Trazodone is a prescription antidepressant that increases the levels of serotonin in your brain. And as a result, you’re more likely to feel relaxed and fall asleep faster.
Is Trazodone Safe?
Trazodone is commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve insomnia, especially for those who haven’t found success with other treatment options including over-the-counter medications.
When prescribed for sleep, doctors often provide a lower dose of Trazodone than they might for other uses. Because of this, the chances of experiencing side effects are minimized though not impossible.
The most common side effect reported from Trazodone is drowsiness; however, if you’re taking Trazodone for sleep this is actually beneficial.
Other possible side effects may include:
- Having paler than normal skin
- Increased or irregular heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty walking
- Uncontrolled muscle twitching
- Blurred vision
- Loss of interest in sex
- Ringing in the ears
If you experience these or any other side effects, it’s important to let your doctor know as soon as possible so they can determine the best next steps for you.
Though Trazodone isn’t considered to be a controlled substance, the FDA has added a Black Box Warning. And although this medication isn’t considered to be habit-forming, it should only be taken as prescribed. Never take your prescription using different instructions than provided or change your dose without first speaking with your doctor.
Who Shouldn’t Use Trazodone?
Studies have shown Trazodone can help you fall asleep, particularly when other options haven’t worked for you.
But with that in mind, it isn’t the right insomnia treatment option for everyone.
It’s very important you consult with your doctor about your insomnia, treatment options you’ve tried in the past, your medical history, and any current medications you’re taking to find out if a Trazodone prescription is right for you.
In particular, be sure to let your doctor know if you’re taking any of the following medications:
- Blood thinners
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Cold, cough, and allergy medications
- Medications used to treat fungal diseases
- Medications used to treat HIV or aids
- Medications used to treat heartburn
- Heart medications
- Seizure medications
Additionally, let your doctor know if you have any of the following conditions in your medical history:
- Recent heart attack or other heart problems
- Sleep apnea
- History of substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Schizophrenia or other mental illness
- Epilepsy or history of seizures
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Problems urinating
- Pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
Discussing your history and current medications with your doctor will help you find the best treatment option for you as well as help minimize any side effects or negative drug interactions.
Reviewed by Dr. Alex Dimitriu
Dr. Alex Dimitriu is a Stanford-trained physician with dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine. The included content is not intended to replace medical advice. Always be sure to discuss any prescription medications with your doctor.