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Trazodone Side Effects

Bipolar Medications Library


Updated June 05, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Trazodone, an antidepressant sometimes used in treating bipolar disorder, is often prescribed to treat insomnia because its most frequent side effect is sedation. This catalogue of trazodone side effects lists them in order from most common to rare and includes overdose effects. Trazodone's original brand name is Desyrel, and there is an extended-release form sold under the brand name Oleptro.

Trazodone Side Effects

Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More Common: Dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness/sleepiness; dry mouth; headache; nausea; fatigue; blurred vision; constipation; diarrhea; back pain; sexual dysfunction (decreased desire or performance ability)

Note: Because trazodone's sedating effect is so common that the drug is prescribed for sleep problems, it is important not to engage in hazardous activities, including driving, until you know how this drug affects you.

Always notify your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these side effects:

Less Common: Abdominal pain; muscle aches; problems with coordination or memory; migraine; tingling; agitation; disorientation; shortness of breath; night sweats; urgent need to urinate; swelling; vomiting; unpleasant taste; visual disturbance; confusion; drop in blood pressure when standing up (orthostatic hypotension); muscle tremors

Rare: Hearing problems; tinnitus; dry eye; abnormal gait; muscle twitching; amnesia; sensitivity to light; acne; eye pain; acid reflux; speech problems; bladder pain or incontinence; flushing (skin becoming red and warm); fainting (syncope); fast or slow heartbeat; skin rash; unusual excitement

Stop taking this medicine and seek emergency medical attention if the following side effect occurs:

Rare: Painful, prolonged erection of the penis. This condition, called priapism, can result in permanent damage to erectile tissues if not treated promptly.

Overdose Effects - Notify Doctor Immediately:

Drowsiness; loss of muscle coordination; nausea and vomiting; priapism (see above). Rarely, respiratory arrest, seizures and heart problems have been reported.

Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms:

Anxiety; agitation; sleep disturbances. Gradual discontinuation of trazodone is recommended to minimize these symptoms.

Trazodone Black Box Warning

Like all antidepressants, the prescribing information for trazodone is required to carry a warning regarding the increased possibility of suicidal thinking or behavior in young adults (24 and under), adolescents and children. See Antidepressant Medications - Box Warning for the full text of this warning.

Other possible rare but serious side effects:

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.

Source: Drugs@FDA. Oleptro Approved Label. 5 May 2011.

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