Does trazodone cause headaches? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone causes headaches. We will also explore research studies linking the use of trazodone to the occurrence of headaches, as well as the factors that may increase the risk of severe headaches with trazodone. Additionally, we will discuss management tips for trazodone-induced headaches

Does trazodone cause headaches?

Yes, trazodone does cause headaches. It is a commonly reported side effect associated with this medication. Headaches are more frequent during the initial phase of treatment with trazodone when the body is adjusting to the medication. However, they may subside gradually after the adjustment period without any pharmacological intervention.

Generally, trazodone is an antidepressant medication employed in the management of various health conditions such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. Apart from headaches, trazodone may also cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, dry mouth, nightmares, and irritability (1).

What does research suggest?

According to research, headaches are a frequently reported side effect of trazodone. The Food and Drug Administration has reported that the incidence of trazodone-induced headaches may range from 10 to 20% (2).

A research study documented the occurrence of headaches and other mild side effects of trazodone in individuals taking this medication for the management of their underlying depression (3). Various other studies have confirmed the same side effects, validating the association of headaches with trazodone (4,5).

What factors may increase the risk of headaches with trazodone?

Headaches are commonly linked to trazodone use; however, the risk is heightened due to various factors.

  • Certain individuals may be more sensitive to trazodone’s effects, elevating the likelihood of headaches.


  • Additionally, a genetic predisposition can increase susceptibility to headaches as a trazodone side effect.


  • Elevated trazodone doses may be correlated with a higher incidence of headaches, and prolonged use of the medication might contribute to their persistence.


  • Considering the concurrent use of other medications with trazodone that can intensify the likelihood of headaches is another important factor.


  • Individuals with underlying medical conditions, particularly those with migraines, face an increased risk of experiencing headaches with trazodone.

What to do if trazodone causes severe headaches?

Trazodone can potentially lead to headaches as a side effect, but this may resolve on its own as your body adapts to the medication. However, if you encounter severe or persistent headaches affecting your quality of life, it is advisable to seek guidance from your healthcare provider.

Your healthcare provider will assess your condition to identify the cause of your headaches. They may recommend adjustments to trazodone dosage to minimize the frequency and severity of headaches.

Over-the-counter analgesics may also be prescribed to manage headaches, but it is crucial to consult your doctor before combining any medication with trazodone to prevent potential drug interactions.

Although headaches induced by trazodone are generally not severe, however, if persistent and unbearable headaches occur with trazodone your healthcare provider may suggest alternative medications less likely to cause headaches. These alternative medications may include nortriptyline, desipramine, and mirtazapine.

What are the management tips for trazodone-induced headaches?

The management of headaches caused by trazodone may include both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, tailored to the severity of the headaches.

Pharmacological treatment may involve the use of analgesic medications such as NSAIDs, including ibuprofen or aspirin, which can effectively alleviate mild to moderate headaches.

Additionally, triptans may be prescribed if headaches caused by trazodone are accompanied by underlying migraines.

Non-pharmacological approaches for managing headaches caused by trazodone may involve stress management practices, including meditation and relaxation exercises.

Physical therapy can be beneficial, especially in cases where trazodone-induced headaches are exacerbated by underlying tension and stress. Furthermore, incorporating head massages and dietary modifications may also contribute to reducing the frequency of headaches caused by trazodone.

In my opinion, headaches are frequently reported with trazodone, but they resolve gradually as the body adjusts to the medication. Changes in the treatment plan, including alterations in trazodone dosage or the addition of additional medications, should only be made under the guidance and supervision of your healthcare provider to ensure the safety and efficacy of the treatment.

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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:


Mittur A. Trazodone: properties and utility in multiple disorders. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Mar;4(2):181-96. doi: 10.1586/ecp.10.138. PMID: 22115401.Mittur A. Trazodone: properties and utility in multiple disorders. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Mar;4(2):181-96. doi: 10.1586/ecp.10.138. PMID: 22115401.


Chen HC, Tsai SJ. Trazodone-induced severe headache. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011 Dec;65(7):681-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2011.02276.x. PMID: 22176292.


Fagiolini A, Comandini A, Catena Dell’Osso M, Kasper S. Rediscovering trazodone for the treatment of major depressive disorder. CNS Drugs. 2012 Dec;26(12):1033-49. doi: 10.1007/s40263-012-0010-5. Erratum in: CNS Drugs. 2013 Aug;27(8):677. PMID: 23192413; PMCID: PMC3693429.

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