Does trazodone cause bradycardia? (+5 factors)
In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone causes bradycardia. We will also explore the research studies linking the effects of trazodone to bradycardia, as well as the factors that may increase the risk of bradycardia with trazodone. Additionally, we will discuss the management tips for trazodone-induced bradycardia.
Does trazodone cause bradycardia?
Yes, trazodone may cause bradycardia. However, some research studies have also reported cases where individuals experienced tachycardia with trazodone. The incidence of cardiovascular side effects of trazodone is generally low, but some individuals may report these issues after taking this medication.
Generally, trazodone is an antidepressant medication that is employed in the management of various health conditions, including depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. The common side effects of this medication may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, nightmares, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth (1).
What does research suggest?
According to research, bradycardia induced by trazodone is a reported side effect of the medication. However, the Food and Drug Administration has demonstrated that the incidence of trazodone-induced bradycardia is very low, and it may occur when trazodone is used for an extended period (2).
A research study documented the occurrence of trazodone-induced bradycardia in an individual using the medication for the management of underlying depression. Interestingly, the patient reported bradycardia after taking a single dose of trazodone, and the symptoms subsided after discontinuation of the medication (3).
In another study, an individual reported bradycardia and other side effects of trazodone within an hour of taking the medication. However, it’s worth noting that in this case, the patient was concurrently taking clonidine as well (4).
What factors may influence trazodone-induced bradycardia?
Several factors may increase the risk of trazodone-induced bradycardia. These factors may include:
Concurrent Medications: Concurrent use of other medications known to have bradycardia as a side effect can amplify the risk. As observed in research studies, the concurrent use of trazodone and clonidine, a medication with cardiovascular effects, can contribute to bradycardia (4).
Pre-existing Cardiac Conditions: Individuals with underlying cardiovascular conditions may have an increased vulnerability to trazodone-induced bradycardia.
Longer Duration: Prolonged use of trazodone has been associated with an increased risk of bradycardia. Monitoring individuals on trazodone for an extended period is essential.
Higher Dosage: The risk of trazodone-induced bradycardia may be higher in individuals who take elevated doses of the medication. Adjusting the dosage should be done cautiously under medical supervision.
Lifestyle: Factors such as an individual’s overall health and lifestyle can also play a role. Conditions or habits that affect cardiovascular health may contribute to an elevated risk.
What to do if trazodone causes bradycardia?
While the incidence of serious bradycardia is relatively low with trazodone, it is essential to be vigilant if you observe signs or symptoms of bradycardia while using this medication, such as a slow heart rate. In such instances, it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough assessment to determine the cause of your symptoms and may make adjustments to your treatment plan accordingly.
It is imperative not to alter your medication regimen, including discontinuing trazodone, without seeking guidance from your healthcare provider. Abruptly stopping medication can have adverse effects, and any changes should be made under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
During your communication with healthcare professionals, provide detailed information about your symptoms and any other relevant health concerns. Your healthcare provider will likely conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of the bradycardia and assess whether it is linked to trazodone use or other factors.
How to manage trazodone-induced bradycardia?
For the effective management of trazodone-induced bradycardia, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle modifications, including mild exercises, and advise avoiding alcohol and nicotine consumption, which can exacerbate your symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your healthcare provider may suggest medications to increase your heart rate. Examples of such medications include Atropine and Epinephrine.
Moreover, if bradycardia is a result of an underlying medical condition or medication, addressing the root cause is crucial. Your healthcare provider will work to identify and address any risk factors contributing to bradycardia.
In cases where trazodone-induced bradycardia leads to fainting or other serious symptoms, emergency measures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be employed.
In my opinion, trazodone has been associated with reports of bradycardia; however, this tends to resolve gradually as the body adapts to the medication. Any modifications to the treatment plan, including adjustments in trazodone dosage or the introduction of supplementary medications, should be undertaken exclusively under the guidance and oversight of your healthcare provider.
Was this helpful?
Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. [Updated 2022 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470560/
Li TC, Chiu HW, Ho KJ, Tzeng DS. Bradycardia following a single low dose of trazodone. Asian J Psychiatr. 2011 Mar;4(1):77-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2010.03.003. Epub 2011 Mar 2. PMID: 23050923. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23050923/
Bhatara VS, Kallepalli BR, Misra LK, Awadallah S. A possible clonidine-trazodone-dextroamphetamine interaction in a 12-year-old boy. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 1996 Fall;6(3):203-9. doi: 10.1089/cap.1996.6.203. PMID: 9231313. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9231313/