How Effective Is Trazodone for Depression?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Using trazodone for depression is generally considered to be an effective treatment. As with most drug treatments, its beneficial effects don’t occur for everyone who uses it, but the majority of people do benefit when using trazodone for depression. Generally, it takes at least two weeks of treatment for any effects of trazodone to be noticed, other than negative side effects such as drowsiness and a lack of mental alertness. Other side effects such as priapism and clitoral priapism are also possible in patients who are taking trazodone.

Doctors do not know the precise mechanism by which trazodone for depression works, but it is thought to maintain a balance between the various mood-affecting chemicals in the brain. Professionals believe that an imbalance in the levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and acetylecholine in the brain is one of the main causes of depression. Many anti-depressant drugs fall under the classification of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which prevent the reuptake of serotonin by the brain and allow it to stimulate other nerves. Although trazodone is believed to serve the same function as SSRIs, the drug is chemically unrelated to them, and in some sense, it is quite unusual as an anti-depressant.


The most similar drug to trazodone is nefazodone. These drugs both work by inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine, and even possibly increasing the overall action of serotonin. The action of the drug is assumed to be related to the balance of the chemical transmitters within the brain. As well as using trazodone for depression, some people also use the drug to help treat insomnia.

Studies done on the efficiency of trazodone for depression have found that the drug is at least as effective as competing medications. Patients taking anti-depressant medications of any kind should note that it can take more than two weeks before any positive effects of taking them can materialize. Drugs such as trazodone take time to begin to have a positive effect. As a result of the sleep-inducing qualities of the drug, it is particularly suitable for patients who experience depression and insomnia simultaneously.

Trazadone can cause a variety of side effects. Some patients notice the sleep-inducing effects of the drug more than others, and decreased mental and physical alertness is a common side effect. Priapism and clitoral priapism are also potential side effects of trazodone, which can result in impotence in some cases. Despite the positive effects of trazodone in adults, it can occasionally cause suicidal thoughts and behavior in teenagers and children.



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Post 3

Trazodone does help with depression at higher doses, but it has side effects. It has a strong sedative effect so it's not frequently used to treat depression, at least not by itself.

Post 2

@ysmina-- Trazodone is not the most effective drug out there for depression. I'm not an expert, but I only hear about doctors prescribing trazodone for insomnia. It may also be the drug of choice for those with insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression. But I agree with your cousin that it doesn't do much for depression alone.

I used trazodone a long time ago for depression and insomnia. It worked very well for my insomnia and did little for the depression. Definitely talk to your doctor about this and ask for an alternative if your only issue is depression. If you also have sleep problems, trazodone might be helpful.

Post 1

My doctor recently prescribed trazodone for my depression. But I spoke to my cousin today who said that the medication did nothing for her. So I'm confused as to whether I should even start the medication. I'm considering seeing another doctor but I would like to hear more feedback from others.

Has anyone here used trazodone for depression? Did it work for you? Would you recommend it? Please let me know.

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