Keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
Take your doses after a meal or a snack.
This medicine may make you sleepy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol.
Tell your doctor if you experience any troublesome side-effects.
|Type of medicine||Tricyclic-related Antidepressant|
|Used for||Depression and/or anxiety in adults|
|Available as||Capsules, tablets and liquid medicine|
Depression and anxiety can develop for no apparent reason, or they may be triggered by a life event such as a relationship problem, bereavement, or illness. Antidepressants like trazadone are used to ease symptoms such as low mood, poor sleep and poor concentration. This in turn allows you to function more normally and cope better with any difficult circumstances. Trazadone also helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, even if you are not depressed.
Before taking trazodone
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking trazodone it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
- If you have thyroid problems.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have epilepsy or sugar diabetes.
- If you are troubled by constipation which lasts several days.
- If you have any difficulties passing urine, or have had prostate trouble.
- If you have a heart disorder.
- If you have ever had a mental health problem (such as bipolar disorder or psychosis).
- If you have glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye).
- If you have been told you have phaeochromocytoma (a tumour on your adrenal gland).
- If you have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines. This is especially important if you have recently taken a medicine for depression, known as a monoamine-oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take trazodone
Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manugfacturer's leaflet will give you more information about trazodone and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
You may be prescribed trazodone to take once a day, at bedtime. Some doctors, however, may recommend smaller doses taken two or three times a day. Your doctor will tell you which is right for you and your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
Take trazodone after meals. If you are taking your doses at bedtime, have a light snack beforehand.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if when you remember it is nearly time for your next dose, then leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Take trazodone exactly as your doctor has told you to. It can cause drowsiness so your doctor may advise you to take a smaller dose to begin with, and then to increase it as your body gets used to the medicine.
- You may feel that trazodone is not working for you straightaway. It can take a week or two after starting it before the effect begins to build up, and 4-6 weeks before you feel the full benefit. It is important that you do not stop taking it after a week or so, thinking it is not helping.
- If you feel depressed, you may have distressing thoughts and think about harming yourself or ending your life. If this happens, it is very important that you tell your doctor about this as soon as possible.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor is likely to recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on trazodone, as it increases the risk of side-effects, such as feeling sleepy.
- If you are taking trazodone for depression, your doctor may ask you to carry on taking it even after you feel better. This is to help stop the depression from returning. It is normal for a course of treatment to last for around six months after your symptoms have eased.
- Continue to take trazodone unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping treatment suddenly can sometimes cause problems and your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because a number of medicines which can be bought from pharmacies and other retail outlets can increase the risk of side-effects from trazodone. These include antihistamine medicines, and St John's wort.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently. This is because trazodone may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you are having any medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking this medicine.
Can trazodone cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common trazodone side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy or faint||Getting up more slowly may help. If you begin to feel faint, sit down until the feeling passes|
|Feeling sleepy or tired, blurred vision||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre, and drink plenty of water|
|Feeling irritable or confused, tingling or numb feelings, breast tenderness, difficulties with sexual function, increased appetite and weight, difficulty passing urine, indigestion, a fast heartbeat, aches and pains||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store trazodone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Trazodone 50 mg and 100 mg Capsules; Winthrop Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2010.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall