Insomnia can be a frustrating condition that leaves you tossing and turning all night. Trazodone is a common prescription medication used to treat insomnia, but like any medication, it can cause side effects.
Often abused a lot in the US, more and more people are needlessly falling into a cycle of addiction when it comes to medication. Learning about the potential side effects of trazodone can help you decide whether taking trazodone for sleep is the right option for you.
What is Trazodone?
Trazodone belongs to a class of medications known as SARIs (serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors). It works by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of calm and sleepiness. Trazodone is prescribed in pill form, usually taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime. It helps people fall asleep faster and stay asleep much longer.
Common Side Effects
Taking trazodone for sleep or any other reason can cause you various side effects, most of which are relatively mild. However, it’s still important to be aware of the possibility of these occurring:
- Drowsiness: This is the primary desired effect of trazodone for insomnia. However, daytime drowsiness may occur if the dose is too high.
- Headaches: Both tension and migraine headaches have been reported with trazodone use. These typically improve over time.
- Dry mouth: Trazodone can reduce saliva production, leading to an uncomfortable dry mouth sensation. Sipping water can help.
- Dizziness: A feeling of lightheadedness may occur when standing up too quickly after taking trazodone, especially at higher doses.
- Memory problems: Confusion and memory issues, more common in older adults, have been reported after using Trazodone.
- Changes in weight: These can be both gains or losses and could result from the use of this drug.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may occur but are usually temporary. Taking trazodone with food can help minimize GI upset.
People Who Should Steer Clear of Trazodone
Trazodone also has some specific medical conditions that it should be avoided in:
- Pregnancy/breastfeeding – Trazodone may cause harm to a developing fetus and enters breast milk. Always consult your OB/GYN before use.
- Bipolar disorder – Trazodone may worsen the manic phase of bipolar disorder. Other options are available.
- Heart conditions – The sedative properties of trazodone may worsen certain heart problems.
- Alcohol use – Combining alcohol and trazodone significantly increases drowsiness and sedation.
Is Taking Trazodone For Sleep The Right Thing for You?
While trazodone can be an effective sleep aid for many people, it’s not right for everyone. Speak to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of using trazodone for your insomnia. Be sure to disclose your full medical history to see if you’re more prone to addiction than others.
If you do take trazodone, pay attention to how you respond. Report any bothersome or severe side effects to your prescribing physician right away. They may be able to adjust your dosage or recommend an alternative medication better suited to your needs. With the right treatment plan, you’ll be on your way to getting the restful sleep you need.