What is Trazodone?
Trazodone or Trazodone Hydrochloride is a common prescription drug used in the treatment of depression (which is also known as clinical or major depression). A number of conditions can be treated in an “off – label” fashion with Trazodone, insomnia being one of them. Here “Off Label” means that the drug is not purposely manufactured for those purposes; it is not FDA approved for the use; but it is commonly used regardless for its proven effectiveness.
Basically it is a sedating antidepressant, meaning that it will likely cause drowsiness. This drowsiness is in fact a side effect of Trazodone and is beneficial for people who have insomnia. While drowsiness can be bothersome for most of us, it is really beneficial if you are suffering from insomnia. Trazodone is usually taken in small doses just before bedtime. For this particular reason, Trazodone is also used for treating insomnia, although the drug has not been approved for this line of treatment. Trazodone is especially useful for treating people who are facing insomnia due to depression as the drug is effective for both conditions. Trazodone can even be used to treat insomnia caused by other antidepressant medications.
How Trazodone Works?
It is not precisely known how Trazodone works. However, the mechanism of antidepressant like Trazodone is very different from that of the straightforward sleep medications. Trazodone acts on neurotransmitters (chemical messengers within our brain. Serotonin provides mood stability and when in small supply creates depression symptoms including mood disorders and the symptoms associated with insomnia). The compounds in Trazodone stimulate serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain, which is a part of the complex neurological process, to build up in spaces between the nerve cells by blocking its uptake in the nearby cells.
When Trazodone is used for curing depression, it is usually taken up to three times in a day. But, when it is used for treating insomnia, it is taken only once just before bedtime. The dosage is also lower for insomnia than for depression.
As a sleeping aid Trazodone can be used as a treatment for a longer period of time than many other popular sleep aids.
Trazodone’s has a half – life of 3 – 6 hours, which means that it is most likely to be used as a treatment for sleep onset insomnia or middle insomnia patients.
Common Side Effects of Trazodone
Many potential side effects are associated with the use of any drug. Although you would not be expected to experience most of these side effects, in fact you may not have even one of them; still the following side effects are common to Trazodone use:
Sleepiness, Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Dry Mouth, Headache, Blurred Vision, Nausea, Vomiting, Fatigue, Palpitations, Low Blood Pressure, Muscle Pain, Confusion, Diarrhea, Rash on Skin, Coordination Difficulties.
In you are suffering from insomnia and have been advised Trazodone by your doctor then it’s so called side effects like sleepiness and dizziness would not be the side effects for you. You would in fact see those as a cure to your insomnia.
Trazodone use has some serious side effects too like abnormal heart rhythms; high blood pressure; hallucinations; seizures; anemia; hepatitis; stroke; and in rare cases even suicidal thoughts.
Issues with Trazodone
Many people who had been experiencing severe insomnia and were advised Trazodone by their doctors, have reported no side effects! For them it is their little bit of heaven and has been working great. Every night just before going to bed they take their recommended dose and happily turn off the light.
People have also reported going to sleep much quicker. They have started having deep and longer sleep periods than before.
At the same time, however, people have reported that after starting on Trazodone initially they slept well. It took them only around 10 minutes maximum to fall asleep. But when they used to get up they had balance issues and even felt a bit dizzy. After a year of their being on Trazodone, suddenly it (Trazodone) stopped working for them altogether. They even started experiencing the other side effects associated with the use of Trazodone and had to see their doctor who ultimately stopped the drug.
Precautions while using Trazodone
If you are thinking on using Trazodone you should use the drug with extreme caution. It is very important that you are monitored by your doctor as you begin with your medication and when any changes in its dose are made. Suicidal symptoms or unusual behavioral changes should be watched for. If you face any difficulty while taking Trazodone you should immediately contact your doctor.
Antidepressants are very powerful drugs. You should take Trazadone only under the advice and constant supervision of your doctor who is fully aware of your insomnia and the possibly associated depression. You should also consider the side effects of the drug use before actually going for it.