Does Trazodone cause jaw clenching? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Trazodone can cause jaw clenching. We will also discuss some treatment strategies used in clinical settings to help people with this side effect.

Does Trazodone cause jaw clenching?

Yes, Trazodone can cause jaw clenching in some individuals. It is one of the listed side effects but the incidence is rare.

Jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding are not common with Trazodone, but antidepressants in general are known to induce such behaviour in a number of people who have never done this before.

If you feel like your jaw clenching while you are being treated with Trazodone or if it is affecting your day-to-day activities, talk to your healthcare provider. Jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding can cause a number of symptoms, including (1):

  • Loud teeth grinding
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Inability to fall asleep
  • Inability to speak properly 
  • Bleeding gums

It is important to note that not everyone experiences this side effect and some patient-specific factors may make some people more vulnerable to it.

How does Trazodone cause jaw clenching?

It is believed that Trazodone may cause jaw clenching indirectly by altering dopamine levels in the brain (2). A change in dopamine level alters certain movements including jaw clenching which can lead to jaw pain.

Bruxism another name for jaw clenching or tooth grinding is a widespread disorder that impacts a large number of people. Stress and misaligned teeth are two common reasons for teeth grinding.

Bruxism is more likely to appear after starting Trazodone or during dose titration. It can also occur as an adverse reaction to Trazodone therapy. The tense muscles can also cause jaw clenching, especially at night.  

What are the factors contributing to jaw-clenching while taking Trazodone?

Here are some factors which can contribute to jaw-clenching:


Antipsychotics and other antidepressants, such as Celexa, Sertraline etc can cause jaw clenching when taken along with Trazodone.

It is important to inform your doctor about all the medications and supplements you are taking to ensure the safe and effective use of this medication.

Drugs that affect CNS, such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease can contribute to jaw clenching.

Underlying medical condition

Stress and anxiety can contribute to jaw-clenching. Individuals may unconsciously clench or grind their teeth when they are stressed and anxious.

Disorders such as ADHD, PTSD, schizophrenia, etc have an increased risk of causing jaw clenching. Misaligned teeth or dental imperfections can also cause jaw clenching.

Lifestyle factors

Excess use of caffeine and substance abuse can increase the risk of jaw clenching. Irregular sleep or imbalances in sleep cycles can contribute to jaw clenching.

Individual sensitivity

Every individual is unique and has a unique genetic makeup, due to which their responses vary. If someone is experiencing jaw clenching due to Trazodone, it may be possible others do not feel the same effect.

Dosage and duration

The dosage of a medication directly influences its effects. Higher doses may increase the likelihood and intensity of side effects produced by Trazodone. People responding well to the lower doses may experience side effects after the dose escalation.

Side effects may evolve over time as the body adjusts to the medication. Initially, some side effects might be more pronounced and diminish as the body becomes used to the drug. Conversely, some side effects might appear after prolonged use.

What to do if Trazodone causes jaw clenching?

If you are experiencing jaw clenching while taking Trazodone, it is essential to talk to your doctor about it. Some doctors may initially try a dose reduction, which does help in some cases.

However, Trazodone-induced jaw clenching might persist in some cases which can lead to the discontinuation of the medication or adding another treatment to alleviate this side effect.

Your doctor may prescribe Buspirone, which is an effective medication for controlling jaw clenching. Its usual dose is 5-10mg taken twice or thrice a day. Make sure you properly follow your doctor’s guidance (3).

In some patients, jaw clenching can be managed by Gabapentin. However, Gabapentin can not be prescribed to every individual and it does come with side effects of its own (4).

It is important to note that medications used to manage this side effect are prescribed carefully by healthcare providers, so making changes to your treatment plan on your own is not recommended.

Even after discontinuing Trazodone, jaw clenching may persist for some time before it gets resolved. Do not stop taking the medication suddenly if you are experiencing jaw clenching. All antidepressants need careful tapering as they can cause withdrawal symptoms and worsen your condition (5).

What are non-pharmacological approaches to treat jaw clenching?

Non-pharmacological approaches include the following:

  • Biofeedback therapy involves procedures for individuals to help control and reduce their muscle tension consciously.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy helps manage stress and address negative emotions, which are often linked with jaw clenching.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake as they interact with the medication, causing an increased risk of side effects.
  • Practice relaxation therapies, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga and meditation to help reduce overall stress and muscle tension.
  • Maintaining proper sleep hygiene and sleep schedule may decrease the frequency of jaw clenching.
  • Consider massage and specific exercises for jaw muscles to help reduce muscle tension.
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

In my experience, Trazodone may cause jaw clenching in a few individuals. It can be managed by behaviouraland feedback therapy. If the adverse effect is severe, it can be managed by reducing the dose of the drug or discontinuing the medication.

Any adjustment to the drug regimen should be done under a qualified physician. I recommend you consult your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any side effects after taking Trazodone.


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