Is Trazodone used for pain? 

In this brief article, we will answer whether Trazodone is used for pain, along with other considerations such as the time it takes for Trazodone to start working, how Trazodone works for pain, the symptoms of withdrawal, precautions and side effects of Trazodone, and current pain treatments. 

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that has also been prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. 

Its exact mechanism of action on pain is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the modulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline (1,2).

Like other medications, trazodone can cause adverse effects, and abruptly discontinuing the treatment may result in withdrawal symptoms. 

Additionally, certain groups of people need to exercise caution when using this medication (3,6). Therefore, it is important to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions.

For mild to moderate acute pain, medications such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended. However, for severe acute pain or chronic pain, other medications may be necessary, such as antidepressants and opioids(7,8).

Is Trazodone used for pain? 

Trazodone has been prescribed for the treatment of some types of chronic pain, such as migraine headache, diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia – which is a chronic condition associated with pain, fatigue, and insomnia (1). 

However, Trazodone is no typical painkiller and not everyone can take it. It does not help with typical pains, such as muscle pains or dental pains.

This medication was initially designed as an antidepressant and was intended for depression-related symptoms, but further studies indicate that Trazodone also has a beneficial effect on insomnia and pain (1,2).

In this way, your medical doctor may recommend ongoing treatment with Trazodone for chronic pain when analgesic medications are not effective in relieving the symptoms. 

How long does it take for Trazodone to start working for pain?

Like other psychotropic medications, Trazodone may take up to 2 weeks or longer to start managing your symptoms effectively. 

It’s important to continue taking this medication even if you start feeling better. Don’t discontinue the use of Trazodone without consulting your doctor. Suddenly stopping Trazodone may lead to withdrawal symptoms (3). 

Trazodone works best when it is used properly and consistently. 

How does Trazodone work for pain?

Although the precise mechanism by which Trazodone relieves pain is still unclear, it could be related to its effects on excitatory neurotransmitters – serotonin and noradrenaline (1). 

Scientific evidence indicates that Trazodone inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, thereby preventing its uptake by presynaptic neurons and resulting in an increase in serotonin levels in the brain. 

Furthermore, it acts as an antagonist or blocker of histamine receptors and adrenergic receptors, leading to the alteration of physiological responses mediated by these signalling pathways. 

Thus, this medication reduces levels of neurotransmitters associated with arousal effects, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, among others, which are important for modulating and perceiving pain (4,5).

These results imply that Trazodone may have the potential as an analgesic medicine for some forms of pain. However, additional research is required to completely understand its mode of action for pain relief.

What are the symptoms of withdrawal from Trazodone?

If trazodone is abruptly discontinued, it is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms, which may include (3):

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Frenzied or abnormally excited mood; 
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sweating

If you want or need to stop the treatment, your doctor will probably gradually decrease the dose.

What side effects are associated with Trazodone when used for pain relief?

Trazodone is generally well-tolerated, but like all medications, it may cause side effects. The most common side effects of trazodone include (3):

In addition to these common side effects, trazodone may also cause some more serious side effects, although these are rare. These may include (3,6):

  • Serotonin syndrome: a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur when there is too much serotonin in the brain. Symptoms include confusion, agitation, fever, sweating, tremors, and muscle rigidity.
  • Orthostatic hypotension: a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up or move your position.
  • Priapism: a prolonged and painful erection that can occur in men.

If your doctor has prescribed this medication for chronic pain, make sure you take it as properly as you can and do not exceed the recommended dose. 

It’s also best to take Trazodone at bedtime because it causes drowsiness and tiredness in some people. 

Make sure you don’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or involve in any activity that requires your full mental alertness after taking Trazodone. If you start experiencing any of the serious side effects while taking Trazodone. 

Can everyone take Trazodone for pain? 

No, not everyone can take Trazodone for pain. It should only be taken if prescribed by your healthcare provider. 

This medication is not a typical painkiller and is only used for chronic pain. Even in that case, not every individual can take Trazodone (1,2). 

 Individuals who have a cardiac disease or a kidney disease, as well as those suffering from bipolar disorder or with a history of drug abuse or suicidal behaviour, should exercise caution when using this antidepressant. (3,6). 

Those who can take Trazodone for pain relief should do so under their doctor’s supervision. It is important to adhere to the doctor’s recommended dose and make sure that your Trazodone is fully potent to help you with your symptoms.

What are the current treatment options for pain?

Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) are first-line treatment options for most patients with mild to moderate acute pain. 

In the case of severe pain, the use of opioid medications (such as codeine and morphine) may be necessary. 

However, the pharmacological management of acute pain should be tailored to each patient. Therefore, follow the recommendations of your doctor (7).

In regards to chronic pain, it is generally classified into neuropathic pain, nociceptive pain, or mixed pain. Pharmacological treatment may vary depending on the type of pain you experience; however, commonly prescribed classes of medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants (such as trazodone), and opioids (8).


In this brief article, we have answered whether Trazodone is used for pain, along with other considerations such as the time it takes for Trazodone to start working, how Trazodone works for pain, the symptoms of withdrawal, precautions and side effects of Trazodone, and current pain treatments. 

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