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Trazodone for Depression: Efficacy, Dosage, Side Effects

Mental health conditions like major depressive disorder (MDD) are not just about losing interest in your hobbies and getting overwhelmed with the feeling of sadness and anxiety. It can also make it hard to think, communicate, and be active. You may notice changes in your appetite and weight, feel tired constantly, and even have suicidal thoughts. To help overcome the disorder, different interventions are used.

Around 8.4% of all adults in the U.S. experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2020. MDD can be treated with psychotherapy, medications, or invasive interventions. Doctors may suggest taking trazodone for depression treatment to help cope with the symptoms described above.

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What is Trazodone Used for, and How Does It Help?

Trazodone is the active ingredient used in Oleptro, an antidepressant medicine. The Oleptro brand name has been discontinued in the U.S., but its generic version is still available on the market.

Trazodone is in a class of drugs called serotonin receptor antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). Not only does it treat MDD, but one can also use trazodone for anxiety related to depression.

Trazodone restores the balance of some chemicals in the brain: it increases the levels of serotonin and noradrenaline. Your condition improves as the medication elevates your activity level, appetite, and mood while reducing anxiety simultaneously. Your doctor may advise you to use trazodone for sleep if you also suffer from insomnia.

Trazodone Dosage

The dosage is prescribed individually to every patient according to the symptoms and condition severity. Usually, it starts with 75 mg to 150 mg once a day in adults. Then it may be increased by 75 mg/day every three days, if necessary. Trazodone dosage may be up to 400-600 mg/day. If your dose is different, do not alter it unless instructed by your doctor.

It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks before the action of Trazodone starts. But it may take up to 6 weeks for you to fully benefit from it.

Maintenance Treatment

The efficacy of Oleptro for the maintenance treatment of MDD has not been estimated. It is unknown how long one should be treated with trazodone, but it is encouraged to continue the treatment for a couple of months after an initial response. Patients should receive the lowest effective dose, which should be periodically reevaluated to consider reducing the dosage of the drug.

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Trazodone Side Effects

Any medication can cause side effects. However, most people don’t experience them or get to experience their mild forms if taken in prescribed dosages. Some side effects of trazodone may go away shortly after they appear as your body adapts to the drug. Some of them require medical attention.

If you notice any lingering side effects that influence your everyday life, you should discuss them with a medical professional.

Common Side Effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Somnolence/Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Constipation

Less Common and Severe Side Effects:

  • Fainting
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased concentration
  • Nervousness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Slow or fast heartbeat
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Ringing in the ears
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Rush
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling
  • Painful or prolonged erections
  • Suicidal thinking

Immediately check with your doctor if you notice any side effects.

Trazodone dosage

Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Alterations to serotonin receptors cause changes in the brain resulting in withdrawal symptoms. Trazodone decreases the number of neurotransmitters associated with arousal effects. The reduced volume of receptors can create withdrawal effects if the drug is abruptly stopped.

As a rule, the body needs some time to fix this on its own. However, one may have unpleasant symptoms during this period of adjustment. We cannot always talk about addiction when one experiences withdrawals, but it certainly shows a physical dependency on the drug.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depersonalization
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Chills
  • Vertigo or difficulty walking

Do not stop taking Oleptro without prior approval from your doctor. Otherwise, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If your doctor decides to take you off trazodone, they will tell you how to do it safely. Usually, it happens by lowering the dose gradually to prevent side effects from occurring.

Warnings and Interactions

  • Do not drink alcohol with trazodone, as it can cause serious side effects or fatality.
  • Tell your doctor about the medication you are taking currently, as many drugs can interact with trazodone. They include some prescription and over-the-counter medicines (opioid medication, sedative, muscle relaxant, or anxiety or seizure medications), vitamins, and herbal products.

Summary

Trazodone is effective for depression and anxiety. Always consult your healthcare professional to ensure the information you read here applies to your personal circumstances.

Doctors at MEDvidi are ready to assist you on your way to depression management. They can provide you with all the necessary information on your condition and prescribe the best medication for you.

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