Does trazodone cause photosensitivity? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone causes photosensitivity. We will explore research studies that may provide evidence linking the use of trazodone to photosensitivity reactions. Additionally, we will delve into the factors that may increase the risk of trazodone-induced photosensitivity and provide management tips for this potential side effect.

Does trazodone cause photosensitivity?

Yes, trazodone may cause photosensitivity; however, it is not a commonly reported side effect of this medication. Trazodone may also lead to other uncommon skin-related side effects, such as acne, sweating, and skin rash as well but the incidence of these side effects, including photosensitivity, is generally low.

Common side effects of trazodone may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, nightmares, and sedation. Overall, trazodone is an antidepressant medication commonly used in the management of various health conditions, including depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain (1).

What does research suggest?

According to research, trazodone can potentially cause photosensitivity or increase the risk of it in certain individuals. However, this side effect is considered rare and does not manifest in all individuals taking this medication (2).

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), photosensitivity caused by trazodone is not frequently reported, but it can occur in some individuals (3). A research study has reported that the incidence of trazodone-induced photosensitivity is less than 1%, indicating that this side effect is infrequent with this medication (4).

What factors can influence trazodone-induced photosensitivity?

Several factors may increase the risk of photosensitivity while using trazodone. These factors include:

Individual Factors: Individuals with sensitive skin or fair complexions are more prone to experiencing trazodone-induced photosensitivity, even though the overall risk is low. Prolonged sun exposure after taking trazodone can also influence the risk of photosensitivity.

Medication Interactions: Concurrent use of other antidepressant medications or antipsychotic medications alongside trazodone can elevate the likelihood of experiencing photosensitivity and skin-related side effects. These effects are less common when these medications are taken alone.

Underlying Skin Conditions: Individuals with pre-existing skin conditions such as dermatitis, urticaria, or lupus erythematosus may be more vulnerable to skin-related side effects of trazodone, including photosensitivity.

What to do if trazodone causes photosensitivity? 

While photosensitivity caused by trazodone is rare, it can occur in some individuals. If you experience any symptoms of photosensitivity after taking this medication, prompt reporting to your healthcare provider is crucial.

They will assess your condition to determine the actual cause of your symptoms. If any risk factors are identified that may be causing or exacerbating photosensitivity, those factors will be addressed first.

However, in cases where trazodone is solely responsible for severe and persistent photosensitivity, your healthcare provider may recommend dosage adjustment or discontinuation of the medication, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

In some instances, your healthcare provider may prescribe an alternative to trazodone that is less likely to cause photosensitivity, such as agomelatine, desvenlafaxine, and mirtazapine.

However, it is important to note that these medications can also cause skin-related reactions and photosensitivity in susceptible individuals. Therefore, discussing your specific health conditions and potential side effects with your healthcare provider is essential to ensure the safety of the treatment. 

How to prevent trazodone-induced photosensitivity?

The photosensitivity caused by trazodone can be mitigated by adopting the following measures:

  • Use a suitable sun-protecting cream or wear protective clothing before going out on sunny days if you’re taking trazodone to prevent photosensitivity as a potential side effect.


  • Additionally, plan outdoor activities when the sun is less intense, and stay well-hydrated to counter potential dehydration effects.


  • Inform your healthcare provider about the medications and medical history, so they can tailor a treatment plan to your needs, minimizing the risk of unwanted side effects, including photosensitivity caused by trazodone.


  • Conduct regular skin checks and promptly report any changes that may occur during treatment to prevent worsening of your symptoms.


  • Be mindful of personal risk factors, such as fair skin or pre-existing skin conditions, while taking trazodone to prevent these side effects.

In my opinion, while trazodone is not commonly associated with photosensitivity, instances of this side effect are rare. Taking precautionary measures,  is advisable for individuals taking trazodone, especially if they have fair skin or a history of skin sensitivity.

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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:


Hofmann GA, Weber B. Drug-induced photosensitivity: culprit drugs, potential mechanisms and clinical consequences. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2021 Jan;19(1):19-29. doi: 10.1111/ddg.14314. PMID: 33491908; PMCID: PMC7898394.

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