Trazodone Oral Precautions and Side Effects

  • Precautions

    Before taking trazodone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to nefazodone; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

    This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have:

    • history of priapism from taking trazodone
    • recent heart attack

    Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

    • personal or family history of bipolar disorder
    • personal or family history of suicide attempts
    • heart disease (e.g., irregular heartbeat)
    • liver disease
    • kidney disease
    • blood pressure problems

    This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.

    To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

    Trazodone may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away. The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may affect the heart rhythm. Before using trazodone, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions:

    • certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG)
    • family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death)

    Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using trazodone safely.

    Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially drowsiness and dizziness.

    During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

    This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

    Side Effects

    See also the Warning section.

    Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, blurred vision, changes in weight, headache, muscle ache/pain, dry mouth, bad taste in the mouth, stuffy nose, constipation, or change in sexual interest/ability may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

    To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.

    Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

    Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:

    • shaking (tremors)
    • nightmares
    • ringing in the ears
    • problems urinating
    • blood in urine

    Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:

    • signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat)
    • shortness of breath
    • stomach/abdominal pain

    Get medical help right away if any of these rare but serious side effects occur:

    • chest/jaw/left arm pain
    • fainting
    • fast/irregular heartbeat
    • seizures
    • severe dizziness

    For males, in the very unlikely event you have a painful or prolonged erection (priapism) lasting 4 or more hours, stop using this drug and seek immediate medical attention, or permanent problems could occur.

    A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:

    • rash
    • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
    • severe dizziness
    • trouble breathing

    This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

    In the US -

    Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

    In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.


    Antidepressant medications are used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression and other mental/mood disorders. These medications can help prevent suicidal thoughts/attempts and provide other important benefits. However, studies have shown that a small number of people (especially people younger than 25) who take antidepressants for any condition may experience worsening depression, other mental/mood symptoms, or suicidal thoughts/attempts. Therefore, it is very important to talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of antidepressant medication (especially for people younger than 25), even if treatment is not for a mental/mood condition.

    Tell the doctor immediately if you notice worsening depression/other psychiatric conditions, unusual behavior changes (including possible suicidal thoughts/attempts), or other mental/mood changes (including new/worsening anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech). Be especially watchful for these symptoms when a new antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed.