Does trazodone cause acne? (3+ side effects)

In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone causes acne. We will also share the evidence from literature on the reports of acne associated with trazodone, and other skin conditions. We will also mention some common side effects of trazodone. 

Does trazodone cause acne?

Trazodone may or may not cause acne in individuals. Acne is not an officially documented or frequently reported symptom of trazodone. However, individual responses to medication vary and some individuals may develop rare side effects.

Trazodone, a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), is an antidepressant. It is FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD (1).

Antidepressants are associated with the development of acne in some individuals. However, reports of acne induced by trazodone are scarce. Acne may develop after taking some medications and resolves once the body adjusts to the medicine. 

What does research suggest?

The association of trazodone with acne has not been discussed in the literature widely. Some incidents may have been found but they are not reported specifically. Thus, the research and reports of trazodone-induced acne are scarce. 

However, research indicates that antidepressants that influence serotonin levels are associated with acne. Trazodone also has serotonergic activity. It blocks serotonin reuptake and increases the serotonin levels (1). 

As per the research, enhanced serotonergic activity at the skin’s dermal-epidermal interface can result in acne (2). Similar activity by trazodone makes the incidence of acne plausible. 

Research also indicates that hormonal changes can result in acne. Studies suggest that trazodone increases the levels of testosterone, FSH, and LH (3). These changes can also cause acne in individuals. 

What skin conditions are associated with trazodone?

Acne has not been reported in patients taking trazodone. However, different case reports are present in the literature that associate trazodone with other skin conditions. Trazodone can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. 

In one case a patient taking trazodone developed erythema multiforme while taking trazodone. It is a skin condition caused by several factors including medication allergy. The symptoms were resolved once trazodone was discontinued (4). 

In another case report, the use of trazodone triggered generalized pustular psoriasis in a patient (5). Thus, trazodone can trigger and cause some skin conditions which can be resolved once the drug is discontinued. 

What factors can contribute to acne while taking trazodone? 

Some individuals are prone to acne due to different factors. When these people initiate a medication, they are more likely to develop acne. If you are taking trazodone and have developed acne, the following factors may have contributed:

Internal triggers of acne: 

Some physiological factors make you susceptible to acne. Your genes can increase the risk of acne because they influence the number and activity of sebaceous glands and hormones. A positive family history also increases the risk of acne (6).

Hormonal imbalances in the body especially an increased testosterone level are a common trigger of acne. This increases sebum production and contributes to acne development. (6).

Alterations in the components of sebum can also trigger acne. The changes may include a decrease in linoleic acid and essential fatty acids (6). Thus, several internal factors can trigger acne which may or may not be influenced by taking trazodone. 

Lifestyle factors: 

Your lifestyle can also trigger acne regardless of what medications you are taking. A diet high in sugars and processed food is a common trigger for acne. Stress can also cause acne through the release of proinflammatory cytokines (6). 

Smoking and inadequate hydration can also be a trigger for acne. Thus, if you have these acne triggers while taking trazodone, you are at a higher risk of developing acne. 

How to manage acne while taking trazodone?

Trazodone is unlikely to cause acne however the presence of acne triggers can increase the risk of acne. If you notice any skin reactions while taking trazodone, you must contact your healthcare provider.

If you develop acne while taking trazodone you must contact your healthcare provider. Acne can be managed by both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. 

Pharmacological management:

Pharmacological management includes the use of oral and topical antibiotics to control microbial growth and inflammation. Antibiotics for acne should be used under medical guidance.

Topical products like benzoyl peroxide can also be used due to their antiseptic properties and ability to reduce sebum production.

Skin care products containing salicylic acid are also beneficial as salicylic acid has exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties and it unclogs the pores and clears the skin. 

Non-pharmacological management: 

Non-pharmacological management of acne includes developing a skincare routine that involves moisturizing and cleansing your skin regularly and using sunscreen. You must avoid strong soaps and use products labeled noncomedogenic. 

You can also include tea tree oil in your skincare routine as it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You should be gentle with your skin and avoid touching or squeezing the pimples as it can lead to scars. 

Lifestyle modifications:

If you are concerned about developing acne while taking trazodone, you can focus on lifestyle modifications that reduce the acne triggers. You can reduce your sugar intake, and increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, and legumes for healthy skin. 

You can include regular exercise in your schedule and practice relaxation techniques to manage your stress. Maintaining adequate hydration is also important to avoid acne. 

What are the common side effects of trazodone? 

Common side effects of trazodone include (1): 

  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • acid reflux
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • dry mouth
  • QT prolongation
  • torsades
  • orthostatic hypotension
  • priapism
  • visual hallucinations
  • arrhythmias 

In my perspective, it is unlikely for trazodone to cause acne. However, individual responses to medication may vary and rare side effects can be reported. Research suggests that antidepressants can cause acne in some individuals. 

Research shows that the serotonergic activity of antidepressants and hormonal changes can trigger acne. Trazodone also has serotonergic activity and it causes hormonal changes which makes its association with acne plausible.

Different factors can increase the risk of acne in individuals. Several strategies can be used to avoid acne while taking trazodone. You must contact your healthcare provider if you experience an unusual skin reaction while taking trazodone. 

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Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. [Updated 2022 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


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Barth JH, Baker H. Generalized pustular psoriasis precipitated by trazodone in the treatment of depression. Br J Dermatol. 1986 Nov;115(5):629-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1986.tb05776.x. PMID: 3790438.


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