Does trazodone have to be taken with food? (+5 tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone must be taken with food or not. We will discuss the importance of taking trazodone with diet. We will also discover some additional tips to get the maximum benefit while taking trazodone. 

Does trazodone have to be taken with food?

Trazodone may be taken with or without food. However, it is preferred to take trazodone with food to avoid gastrointestinal disturbances and other side effects. 

Trazodone is an antidepressant that belongs to the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor drug class. It is approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder. Trazodone is also used off-label to treat substance abuse, bulimia, anxiety, and fibromyalgia in some patients (1). 

For better absorption and efficacy of trazodone, it may and may not be taken with food. This condition of taking trazodone with or without food depends on the patient’s condition and the doctor’s recommendation. You must always comply with your doctor and follow the prescription to avoid complications.  

Does food affect the absorption of trazodone?

Taking trazodone with or without food surely affects its absorption. It has been observed that the peak plasma drug concentration of trazodone has been obtained after 1 hour of oral drug administration without food (2). 

Whereas, the peak drug concentration is obtained after 2 hours of oral administration of trazodone when administered with food (2). It is preferred to take trazodone with a small meal or a little snack to avoid lightheadedness and postural hypotension in patients (1,3). 

However, it can be concluded that taking trazodone on an empty stomach increases the timing of absorption while taking it with food delays the absorption of trazodone (2). 

It is generally safe to take trazodone with food because it limits the gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, acid reflux, and abdominal cramps. You must always comply with your doctor’s prescription whether taking it with or without food. 

What foods should be avoided while taking trazodone?

Few foods must be avoided while taking trazodone to avoid exacerbation of side effects. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Grapefruit- Grapefruit and other food items containing grapefruit extract must be avoided while being on trazodone as they might interact with the metabolism of trazodone by inhibiting some liver enzymes. 


  • Caffeine- Taking caffeinated substances and trazodone in combination can result in exacerbated side effects of both substances. Therefore, it is better to avoid taking trazodone with caffeinated products. 


  • Alcohol- It is not advised to take alcohol or other sedatives with trazodone as the combined action of both may cause excessive sedation. Taking trazodone with sedatives such as alcohol can cause drowsiness and impaired coordination. 

What are some tips to improve trazodone absorption with food? 

Following are some tips that you should follow if you are taking trazodone with food to yield the maximum therapeutic efficacy:

  • Dietary adjustments- You must make healthy dietary choices and consume foods that are easily taken up by your stomach. Avoid spicy, greasy, and highly acidic foods which may exacerbate gastrointestinal distress. 


  • Hydration- You must keep yourself well-hydrated. Make sure to take in plenty of fluids throughout the day to avoid dehydration. 


  • Stress management- You must manage stress by doing yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercises. These techniques may help calm and relax your mind and body. 


  • Physical activity- It is essential to indulge in regular physical exercises to remain fit and healthy. Doing regular physical activity daily can increase your energy and improve your mood. 


  • Regular meals- Make sure to maintain a regular eating schedule with small and on-time meals to help digestion.

When to contact your doctor?

If you suspect that taking trazodone with food does not help in alleviating your symptoms, then you must discuss it with your healthcare provider. 

Your doctor may perform a detailed assessment of your symptoms and side effects and may provide drug dosage adjustments. Sometimes adjusting the medication dosage may help relieve the symptoms. 

Your doctor must consider changing the medication timing. If you are taking trazodone in the morning it may lead to excessive drowsiness due to its daytime sedatory effects. 

In my opinion as a pharmacist, if taking trazodone does not show on-time therapeutic efficacy with food, then must consult your doctor to allow you to take trazodone without food. 

Sometimes a little change in the prescription may improve the pharmacokinetic properties of the medication. However, if taking trazodone on an empty stomach, then you must be aware of additional gastrointestinal side effects. 

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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:


Kale P, Agrawal YK. Pharmacokinetics of single oral dose trazodone: a randomized, two-period, cross-over trial in healthy, adult, human volunteers under fed condition. Front Pharmacol. 2015 Oct 2;6:224. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2015.00224. PMID: 26483693; PMCID: PMC4591485.


AHFS Patient Medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Trazodone; [updated 2020 Jun 24; reviewed 2018 Jul 5; cited 2020 Jul 1]; [about 5 p.]. Available from:

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