In this drug factsheet:
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- abdominal pain or discomfort
- back pain
- decreased appetite
- decreased sense of taste
- decreased sexual desire or ability
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- dry mouth
- joint or muscle pain
- nasal congestion
- unpleasant taste
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- blurred vision
- breast enlargement (in men)
- breast leakage of milk (in women, even if not pregnant)
- bruising or unusual bleeding
- changes in menstrual cycle
- decreased hearing
- dizziness when rising from sitting or lying position
- pounding heartbeat
- problems with balance
- reduced sexual function
- ringing in the ears
- swelling in the feet or legs
- symptoms of mania (e.g., elevated or irritable mood, reduced need for sleep, racing thoughts)
- vision changes
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- painful, inappropriate erection of the penis (continuing)
- symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or itchy skin rash)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Behaviour changes and suicidal thoughts: This medication may worsen symptoms of depression, including thoughts of suicide or wanting to harm themselves or others. It may also cause agitated or aggressive behaviour. If you experience these symptoms or any other behaviour change while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Family members or caregivers of people who are taking this medication should contact the person's doctor immediately if they notice unusual behaviour changes.Heart rhythm: Trazodone can cause changes to the normal rhythm of the heart, including an irregular heartbeat called QT prolongation. QT prolongation is a serious life-threatening condition that can cause fainting, seizures, and sudden death. If you are at risk for heart rhythm problems (e.g., people with heart failure, angina, low potassium or magnesium levels), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Blood pressure: Trazodone may cause low blood pressure and possibly cause a feeling of lightheadedness when moving from a sitting or lying position to a standing position.
Dizziness: Trazodone can cause severe dizziness, especially when rising from a sitting or lying position. People taking medications that can cause dizziness should rise slowly from sitting or lying down to reduce the possibility of severe dizziness or fainting
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Trazodone may impair the mental or physical abilities required for potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving or operating machinery. Avoid undertaking such activities while taking trazodone until you determine that you are not affected in this way.
Priapism: Trazodone has been associated with prolonged or inappropriate erections (priapism) for a number of men taking this medication. If this occurs, stop taking the medication immediately and contact your doctor.
Seizures: Seizures have been reported for a small number of people taking trazodone. Most of these people were already taking medications for a previously diagnosed seizure disorder.
severe, life-threatening reactions are possible when trazodone is combined with other medications that act on serotonin, such as tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are other medications used to treat depression. This is called serotonin syndrome. These combinations should be avoided. Symptoms of a reaction may include muscle rigidity and spasms, difficulty moving, changes in mental state including delirium and agitation. Coma and death are possible.
Pregnancy: The safety of trazodone for use during pregnancy has not been established. It should not be used by women who may become pregnant unless, in the opinion of their doctor, the expected benefits outweigh the potential risks. If you are or may be pregnant, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this medication.
Breast-feeding: This medication should not be used by breast-feeding mothers unless the benefits outweigh the risks to the child. If you are breast-feeding, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this medication.
Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of trazodone have not been established for people less than 18 years of age.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between trazodone and any of the following:
antiarrhythmic medications (e.g., amiodarone, sotalol, quinidine, flecainide)
"azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole)
diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
ergotamine-like medications (e.g., dihydroergoatime, ergotamine, methylergonovine)
monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs; e.g., maprotiline, moclobemide, phenelzine, selegiline, tranycypromine)
opioid pain medications (e.g., codeine, morphine)
protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin)
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
St. John's wort
tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine, trimipramine)
"triptan" migraine medications (e.g., sumatriptan, zolmitriptan)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.