What does trazodone feel like? (5+ precautions)

In this article, we will discuss what does trazodone feel like. We will also talk about how to know if trazodone is working, its early phase side effects, long-term effects, and how to ensure safe and effective use of trazodone. 

What does trazodone feel like?

Trazodone may make you feel sleepy and less anxious when you start taking it. Your symptoms of anxiety might start getting better and your mood also improves as you become less anxious. However, not everyone may experience these improvements in the early phase of treatment.

Most antidepressants take time to exhibit their therapeutic effects, however, trazodone has a relatively quick onset of action. Trazodone works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and also blocks histamine and adrenergic receptors. 

Trazodone is FDA-approved to treat major depressive disorder. Trazodone may also be used in the clinical setting to treat various conditions such as insomnia, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety (1). 

How to know that trazodone is working?

To know that trazodone is working you may feel improvement in your mood and sleep patterns immediately after taking the first dose of trazodone. However, for depression symptoms, improvement may be observed after 4 to 6 weeks, as depression can not be treated overnight.

You should take your antidepressants consistently to let them work. Some individuals may not feel better while using trazodone, as their depression symptoms may worsen in the early phase of treatment and incidence of side effects. This is because trazodone and other antidepressants may affect individuals differently (2). 

What are the early phase side effects of trazodone?

The early phase side effects of trazodone may include: 

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Muscular pains

It is important to note that trazodone is a safe and effective antidepressant with a lower incidence of side effects and not everyone taking trazodone may experience the above-mentioned side effects. But in case you experience these adverse effects and they become bothersome, please reach out to your healthcare provider (3). 

What are the long-term effects of using trazodone?

According to a research study, when trazodone was used for 12 months in depressed patients, they had improved symptoms of depression. People felt more sleepy and had a low incidence of side effects. Even after 3 years of trazodone treatment, patients may continue to feel better.

Trazodone is also safe for those individuals who experience bothersome side effects with other antidepressants. This study indicated that trazodone is safe and effective when used for extended periods (4). 

Trazodone when taken in lower doses, may give better results compared to higher doses. Trazodone may also reduce anxiety symptoms quicker than other antidepressants. The risk of side effects is also reduced when trazodone is taken with food and at night time (5).

How to ensure safe and effective use of trazodone?

To ensure safe and effective use of trazodone, you should follow the below-mentioned guidelines:

  • Trazodone is available in both immediate-release and extended-release tablets. 
  • You should swallow the tablet as a whole or break the tablet into equal halves at the score line.
  • Take trazodone at the same time each day. 
  • Trazodone is advised to be taken with food to reduce side effects.
  • You should inform your healthcare provider if you are allergic to trazodone or similar medicines. 
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking other medications or supplements along with trazodone to avoid potential drug interactions. 
  • Trazodone may cause dizziness, so avoid driving or any other tasks which require concentration. 
  • Do not stop taking trazodone suddenly as it may pose withdrawal symptoms. 
  • While discontinuing trazodone, always taper down the dose gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

What to do if trazodone does not help your symptoms?

If trazodone does not help your symptoms, please reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor may evaluate your current condition, family or medical history, and response to the treatment. Your doctor may recommend gradual tapering off trazodone and switching to an alternative antidepressant which might suit you better. 

In my opinion, trazodone may make you feel sleepy and less anxious during the early phase of trazodone treatment. However, some people might not feel better and experience worsening of their depression symptoms. 

You must be aware that antidepressants may take some time to show their complete therapeutic benefits. Do not stop taking trazodone or change the dose and duration on your own as it may pose some adverse effects. 

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Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. 2022 Jul 10. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29262060. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29262060/


Haria M, Fitton A, McTavish D. Trazodone. A review of its pharmacology, therapeutic use in depression and therapeutic potential in other disorders. Drugs Aging. 1994 Apr;4(4):331-55. doi: 10.2165/00002512-199404040-00006. PMID: 8019056. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8019056/


Trazodone-MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [Last Revised – 01/15/2022]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a681038.html


Fabre LF Jr, Feighner JP. Long-term therapy for depression with trazodone. J Clin Psychiatry. 1983 Jan;44(1):17-21. PMID: 6337131. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6337131/


Schatzberg AF. Trazodone: a 5-year review of antidepressant efficacy. Psychopathology. 1987;20 Suppl 1:48-56. doi: 10.1159/000284523. PMID: 3321130. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3321130/

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