Does trazodone contain gluten? (+5 side effects)

In this article, we will discuss the presence of glute in trazodone. We will further discuss the potential dangers of consuming gluten for gluten-sensitive patients. Furthermore, we will discuss the ways to avoid gluten intake through medications.  

Does trazodone contain gluten?

No, trazodone does not contain gluten. The oral available tablets of trazodone are gluten-free and can be safely administered to gluten-sensitive patients.

Trazodone is an antidepressant that belongs to the serotonin antagonist and serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of drugs. It is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is also used off-label for treating insomnia, anxiety, bulimia, fibromyalgia, and Alzheimer’s disease (1). 

Gluten is a group of prolamins found in wheat, rye, and barley. In gluten-sensitive individuals, their immune systems react to gluten causing damage to small intestines and impairing nutrient absorption resulting in gastrointestinal symptoms (2).

Gluten is added in certain pharmaceutical formulations as a binder to hold the ingredients together. It is also used as a filler to give the tablet or capsule the right shape and size. Additional use of gluten pharmaceutical formulations is to act as a coating agent and enhance appearance (2).  

As a result of gluten sensitivity, the patients must include a gluten-free diet and medications to avoid such adverse reactions due to gluten. However, trazodone tablets available in the market are gluten-free and safe to be administered in gluten-sensitive patients. 

What is the impact of gluten on health?

Gluten may have varying impacts on people. Some people taking gluten in their diet or medications might suffer from gluten sensitivity while others may not. The following are two important conditions related to gluten: 

Celiac disease

It is a chronic digestive and immune disorder that affects the small intestines. This condition is triggered by taking gluten through diet. This may cause lifelong digestive problems and affect your digestive system in the long run (2,3). 

This condition is caused by an attack on the inner lining of the small intestine. Celiac disease patients may experience digestive symptoms and malabsorption of food and nutrients (2,3). 

The damage to the inner lining of the small intestine may cause severe abdominal pain and cramps. To get rid of celiac disease, your doctor must advise you to follow a gluten-free diet (2,3). 

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Some patients may also suffer from symptoms such as headache, weakness, and abdominal cramps without having celiac disease. Such patients suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity (2). 

There is no known mechanism for this type of sensitivity in patients. However, the symptoms resemble celiac disease and may be a response of the gut to gluten products. 

What should be the minimum amount of gluten in products?

If you have gluten sensitivity or you suffer from celiac disease, then the tiniest amount of gluten can also harm you (5). 

A gluten-free product or pharmaceutical formulation contains less than 20 ppm of gluten. This means there must be 20 parts of gluten per million parts of the product (5). 

This is the lowest amount of gluten acceptable in any pharmaceutical or food product. Gluten-sensitive patients may or may not react to this small amount of gluten (5).  

What potential side effects occur after consuming gluten?

The gluten-sensitive patients may suffer from the following consequences after consuming gluten (2,4):

Gastrointestinal side effects

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating 
  • Gas 

Adversities of celiac disease 

  • Fatigue
  • Weightloss
  • Anemia
  • Dermatitis
  • Joint pain
  • Infertility
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and anxiety

Non-celiac disease sensitivity

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea and constipation
  • Gas and bloating
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash

However, it is important to note that not all patients may suffer from these side effects. If you face any of these side effects contact your doctor for a detailed health assessment. 

How gluten-intolerants can take trazodone safely?

To ensure that you take gluten-free medication, you must consult with your healthcare provider. Discuss and have an open conversation with them regarding your gluten allergies. 

Trazodone is generally a safe drug and does not mess you up. However, in case of gluten sensitivity, you must consult and discuss with your healthcare provider about gluten-free trazodone alternatives to avoid any complications after consuming gluten-containing trazodone. 

Research and go for gluten-free diets and products easily available in the market. If you are gluten-intolerant, you can easily add the following natural food items to your diet to ensure a healthy and gluten-free diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, seeds, and legumes
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy products

As a pharmacist, I would advise you to have open and transparent communication with your doctor regarding your gluten sensitivity. I would recommend you take proactive steps if you have celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. 

I would highly encourage you to keep yourself well-informed regarding the gluten-free options of the medications that you are being prescribed. 

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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:


Lizano-Díez I, Mariño EL, Modamio P. Gluten in pharmaceutical products: a scoping review. Syst Rev. 2021 Aug 7;10(1):218. doi: 10.1186/s13643-021-01772-9. PMID: 34364399; PMCID: PMC8349483.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Available from:



Niland, B., & Cash, B. D. (2018). Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non–Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 14(2), 82-91.


FDA. Gluten-free means what it says. [Internet]. Sliver Spring (MD): Available from:


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