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Can Trazodone Cause Insomnia

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Is It Safe As A Sleep Aid

Trazodone for Insomnia Pt 1: How it Works, Side Effects

Doctors generally consider trazodone safe in small doses for sleep disorders, such as insomnia. But it may not be as effective as medications such as Ambien for these sleep disorders.

If a person is having trouble sleeping due to depression, they may require a higher dose of trazodone. If this is the case, a person increases their risk of developing side effects from the medication due to the higher dose.

Doctors do not consider trazodone to be habit forming, meaning a person is not likely to become addicted to it. However, trazodone and other SSRIs may still cause physical dependence when people use them long term.

This type of dependence occurs when a person becomes used to the drug being in their system. As a result, they may experience withdrawal when the drug is no longer there.

Physical dependence is a normal process that happens with many medications.

Trazodone treats depression and may help a person fall asleep. Some additional benefits include:

  • It has fewer side effects than many sleep aids, such as Ambien.
  • It is not habit forming, but a person will need to gradually reduce higher doses on their doctors recommendations.
  • Generic forms are available, so it can be cheaper than some other medications doctors may prescribe for sleep.

Trazodone can cause a variety of side effects in certain individuals. Some potential side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • prolonged and painful erections
  • allergic reactions to the drug

Demographic And Clinical Characteristics Of The Participants

The recruitment began on February 1, 2019 and ended on December 31, 2019. Forty patients were randomly assigned to the trazodone and placebo groups, among which 30 patients completed all follow-ups and evaluations . There was no significant difference between the patients who dropped out and those who completed the follow-ups in age , proportion of male patients , baseline PSQI scores , and MoCA scores . The patient flow chart is shown in Figure 1, while the demographic and clinical data are shown in Table 1.

Figure 1 Patient flow chart.

Table 1 Demographic and clinical data of the participants.

What Are The Main Differences Between Trazodone And Ambien

Trazodone is classified as an antidepressant. It is also known as an atypical antidepressant and serotonin modulator. Trazodone is a generic medication. The brand name of trazodone is Desyrel. However, Desyrel is no longer commercially available.

Ambien is classified as a sedative-hypnotic medication. It is a controlled substance. This means it is habit-forming and has the potential for abuse or dependence. It is available in both brand and generic form. Generally, women start at a lower dose of 5 mg. Men can start at 5 mg or a higher dose of 10 mg. Ambien should be taken immediately before bedtime.

Ambien is also available in an extended-release formulation, called Ambien CR. The generic name for Ambien is zolpidem. Ambien is indicated for short-term use however, some people take Ambien for a more extended time under close supervision of the doctor.

Main differences between trazodone and Ambien

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Does Trazodone Have Any Serious Side


Using trazodone can cause a lot of significant health problems and dangerous side-effects. The most common side-effects include: sluggishness, mood swings, lethargy , weight gain, nervousness and anxiety, dry mouth, drowsiness, mental confusion, and/or nausea and vomiting. Keep in mind, however, that insomniacs use trazodone because it causes lethargy and drowsiness not despite it.

Unfortunately, many insomniacs do not realize that trazodone effects will follow them into the next day, making it difficult to complete tasks. They also do not realize that it is possible to have a trazodone overdose one that could lead to death.

More serious side-effects can include: shortness of breath or breathing problems, seizures, elevated or irregular heart rate, low libido or sexual dysfunction, and priapism or an extended penal erection. Abruptly stopping trazadone can also lead to horrible withdrawal symptoms. And, sometimes stopping trazodone can lead to rebound insomnia, in which your insomnia comes raging back worse than before.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Insomnia &  Trazodone: Is it Safe?

In addition to the above unusual side effects requiring a medical evaluation, painful, prolonged erection of the penis can occur after taking trazodone. Stop taking this medicine and seek emergency medical attention if this happens. This condition, called priapism, can result in permanent damage to erectile tissues if not treated promptly.

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Trazodone Side Effects & Warnings

Because it is antidepressant, it is important to note the warnings and risks associated with trazodone before you take it:

  • The use of antidepressants is associated with a slight risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition characterized by changes in mental status, as well as neuromuscular and autonomic hyperactivity.
  • Trazodone may cause heart rhythm abnormalities. Patients with underlying cardiac conditions should discuss the risks of trazodone with their physicians.
  • Orthostatic hypotension and fainting may occur in some patients.
  • Prolonged, painful erections may occur in some males taking trazodone.
  • Trazodone may increase bleeding risk, especially when combined with NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.
  • Among patients with bipolar disorder, trazodone has the potential to activate manic/hypomanic states.
  • In rare cases, trazodone can worsen some of the symptoms of depression and may result in suicidal thinking.

These warnings apply to individuals taking trazodone as prescribed. Abuse of the drug may make an individual more likely to experience one or more of the above issues.

Trazodone Is Commonly Prescribed As A Prescription Sleep Aid Particularly When A Person Is Experiencing Insomnia That Has Been Caused By Life Stressors

Whats keeping you up at night?

Maybe the past few months have been particularly busy at work and your mind cant seem to escape the stress youre feeling, even in the comfort of your bed. Or perhaps youre personally going through a rough patch and youre worried about how things are going to turn out in the end.

It could even be as simple as drinking one too many cups of coffee too late in the day.

Regardless of the reason you find yourself counting hundreds of sheep instead of sleeping in the middle of the night, insomnia can be debilitating to your productivity and daytime energy.

If youre lucky, your sleep problems only last a few days and then happily resolve themselves. It could be as easy as updating bedding or changing your nighttime habits to help your brain shut down for the night.

But unfortunately, thats not always the case.

At times, no matter how many remedies youve tried, you just cant seem to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

If this sounds like you, it may be a sign that its time to talk to a healthcare provider about insomnia and finding a sleep treatment that can help you.

Trazodone is one sleep prescription that your doctor may suggest.

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Are There Any Benefits Of Using Trazadone For Sleep Issues

A few

Most medical experts suggest that you try cognitive-behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes first if you have problems falling and staying asleep. If natural sleep aids have proven to be unsuccessful, then your doctor may prescribe stronger medications, like trazodone, to help you sleep. While this medication can be harmful or even dangerous for some, there are some benefits associated with using it.

These benefits are listed below:

  • Effective A 2017 review found that trazodone is effective for sleeplessness and insomnia in low doses.
  • Affordable Trazodone is more cost-effective than other prescription sleep aids.
  • Safer Trazodone is safer than other prescription sleep aids such as Valium and Xanax. And, when used correctly, it is not considered to be addictive.
  • Preventive Trazodone may help prevent or slow-down age-related cognitive decline in older adults.
  • Deeper Sleep Researchers suggest that trazodone may help improve slow-wave sleep. It may also be beneficial if you suffer from sleep apnea. Understand that some prescription sleep aids can worsen obstructive sleep apnea however, trazodone does not appear to be one of those medications. In fact, a 2014 study found that 100mg of trazodone can have a positive effect on sleep quality in people with sleep apnea.

Using Trazodone For Sleep

Trazodone for Insomnia Pt 2: How Food Changes Its Effects

When trazodone is used to treat a condition like depression, the drowsiness side effect can be problematic. However, this side effect is what causes trazodone to be prescribed for insomnia. That said, sleep medicine doctors do not recommend it for insomnia treatment due to unclear evidence of its effectiveness. Regardless, trazodone is a popular drug for sleep due to its reputation as a safer alternative to other sleep medications unlike trazodone, many of these other medications are controlled substances.

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How To Stop Taking Trazodone

Greenhouse Treatment Center has the experienced and licensed medical staff to help patients undergo treatment specific to their needs. If you find that youre struggling with the misuse of trazodone, options are available. Together we can help you reach long-term sobriety one step at a time.

More On Long-term Effects:

Side Effects And Risks Of Trazodone

As with all medications, Trazodone may cause side effects. The most common side effects are not long-lasting or life-threatening, but there can be cases where the medication may cause serious side effects that require medical attention. Common side effects of Trazodone include:

  • blurred vision
  • easy bruising or unusual bleeding
  • low sodium levels in the body

A black box warning has been issued by the FDA for Trazodone. A black box warning is used to inform consumers about dangerous potential effects of a prescription drug. According to its label, Trazodone can produce or increase suicidal thoughts in children and young adults. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should ask their doctors about the risks involved in taking this medication. Drug interactions can also be dangerous when mixing different substances. People who have used an MAO Inhibitor such as Isocarboxazid, Linezolid, Phenelzine, Rasagiline, or others must wait at least 14 days before taking Trazodone. Likewise, those who stop taking Trazodone should wait 14 days before taking an MAOI.

Although not very common, its possible for someone to suffer an allergic reaction to Trazodone. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling. People shouldnt take Trazodone if they are allergic or being treated with methylene blue injections. Allergic reactions can be life-threatening and require emergency medical attention.

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Precautions Before Trazodone Intake

Before taking trazodone, it is very important to take precautions. For teenagers and young adults, trazodone intake may induce suicidal thoughts. If you feel more depressed or begin to have thoughts of hurting yourself, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor should be informed of unusual thoughts, sleeping troubles, sudden or strong feelings of nervousness, anger, or fear.

Also, you should not stop taking trazodone without consulting your doctor. Your doctor may advise you to gradually reduce the dosage before completely stopping it, which should help you reduce the severity of the adverse reactions of drug withdrawal.

Should You Take Trazodone For Insomnia

Should You Take Trazodone for Insomnia?

Prescriptions for this little-known drug spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. But does it workand is it safe?

    The number of people suffering from insomnia has surged during the pandemic: Twenty-eight percent of Americans, in fact, said theyve had a harder time falling or staying asleep since its onset, according to a November 2020 Consumer Reports nationally representative survey .

    That sleeplessness has also triggered a wave of people seeking relief. Google searches for insomnia jumped 58 percent in the months following the pandemics onset, according to a February 2021 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Prescriptions for insomnia drugs also increased, according to GoodRx, a prescription drug research firm.

    Some of those prescription meds, such as Ambien, Belsomra, and Lunesta, are quite familiar. But prescriptions also spiked for another drug often used to help people fall asleep: trazadone, a decades-old antidepressant that can cause drowsiness as a side effect.

    Trazodone, in fact, has long been among the most commonly prescribed medications to treat sleeplessness.

    Heres why so many people with sleep problems turn to it, and what to do if your doctor suggests you try it.

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    Trazodone May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:

    • headache
    • changes in appetite or weight
    • weakness or tiredness
    • confusion
    • changes in sexual desire or ability
    • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
    • numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
    • shortness of breath
    • unusual bruising or bleeding

    Trazodone can cause painful, long lasting erections in males. In some cases emergency and/or surgical treatment has been required and, in some of these cases, permanent damage has occurred. Talk to your doctor about the risk of taking trazodone.

    Trazodone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .

    Trazodone For Sleep: What You Need To Know

    Trazodone is traditionally used to treat individuals with major depressive disorder. This antidepressant improves mental health by balancing the chemicals in the central nervous system , such as serotonin, to improve energy levels, anxiety, mood, and appetite. But thats not all it can treat. It is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat those with insomnia because of its sedative properties.

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    Insomnia: Restoring Restful Sleep

    Nearly everyone has spent at least one night lying in bed wishing for sleep. But for many men, it’s a nightly struggle. A lucky few get relief from counting sheep, watching late-night movies, or sipping warm milk but most people with insomnia need more assistance. Fortunately, lifestyle changes and behavioral treatment can help many sufferers, and medication is available for those who need it.

    Is Trazodone Like Xanax

    Trazodone for Insomnia: Everything You Want To Know

    Trazodone and Xanax are very different from one another. Unlike trazodone, Xanax is not classified as an antidepressant instead, it is a benzodiazepine. Xanax is a short-acting drug that enhances brain neurotransmitters like GABA, which may be imbalanced in people with anxiety or panic disorders.

    Another big difference between trazodone and Xanax is the fact that Xanax is a Schedule IV controlled substance. Xanax may not be an ideal option if a patient is prone to drug abuse, but trazodone may be appropriate because it is not a controlled substance.

    Side effects of trazodone and Xanax, such as drowsiness, can be similar because both drugs are central nervous system depressants.

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    Overview Of Included Studies

    A significant number of clinical trials have evaluated the hypnotic effectiveness of trazodone in the treatment of insomnia. We identified 45 previous studies that evaluated trazodones effect on sleep outcomes . Studies are grouped in the table from the most recent to the least recent and are also divided based on the type of insomnia studied . The majority of these studies concluded that trazodone was effective in the treatment of insomnia. Only two studies did not support the use of trazodone for sleep., Twenty-one of the studies were performed with depressed patient populations where insomnia was either secondary to depression or induced by antidepressants.,,,,,,,,,, Of all studies included in the current review, 23 evaluated trazodones effects in non-depressed patients with sleep disorders: five were performed in primary insomnia, one for patients during pregnancy, one for women post-menopause, one with Alzheimers disease patients, one with cancer patients, one with dementia patients, one with methadone-maintenance patients, four with healthy men,,,, three with alcoholrelated participants,,, one with somatoform pain disorder patients, three with psychiatric patients,,, and one with self-reported poor sleepers.

    How Effective Is Trazodone For Treating Of Anxiety Disorders

    It is reported that trazodone is somewhat effective in treating anxiety disorders and often leads to improved anxiety symptoms within the first two to six weeks of intake. It also treats obsessive compulsive disorder or panic disorder leading to anxiety disorder. Symptoms of depressive disorders leading to anxiety disorder are also addressed by this medication.

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    Effects Of Trazodone On Sleep Quality And Cognitive Function In Arteriosclerotic Cerebral Small Vessel Disease Comorbid With Chronic Insomnia

    • 1Department of Psychiatry, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    • 2Department of Neurology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    Background: Chronic insomnia is common in patients with arteriosclerotic cerebral small vessel disease and aggravates the cognitive impairment caused by CSVD. Low-dose trazodone is effective in treating insomnia, but it is unclear whether it can also improve cognitive function in CSVD patients. This study was performed to explore the effects of trazodone on sleep quality and cognitive function in CSVD comorbid with chronic insomnia.

    Methods: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Forty patients suffering from arteriosclerotic CSVD and insomnia were recruited from an outpatient clinic. Participants were randomized individually to receive either trazodone or a placebo for 4 weeks. The primary outcome was the cognitive score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment scale . Secondary outcomes included sleep parameters measured with polysomnography and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

    Is Trazodone Approved As A Sleep Aid

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    Trazodone is not approved as a sleep aid by the Food and Drug Administration , but rather as a treatment of depression. While it has similar properties, trazodone is chemically unrelated to the popular antidepressant class: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . Total sleep time is increased with trazodone, but unlike tricyclic antidepressants, trazodone does not affect deep sleep. Although the primary use of trazodone is not for a sleeping medication or sedation, studies have found that low doses of trazodone help treat insomnia.

    One study explains that trazodone works for the treatment of insomnia by reducing the level of neurotransmitters that are associated with arousal effects. Therefore, many people may begin to feel sleepy or drowsy when taking trazodone.

    Although not approved as a sleep aid by the FDA, it is often prescribed for insomnia. This practice of using medication for something other than its first intended use when approved by the FDA is common. This is called off-label use. Prescribing a drug off-label is up to the discretion and judgment of each healthcare provider based on their knowledge and expertise.

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