Depression Home > Trazodone and Insomnia

A number of conditions can be treated in an "off-label" fashion with trazodone, and insomnia is one of them. Drowsiness is a common side effect of the medication, and while it can be bothersome for most people, it can also be beneficial for people who have insomnia. When trazodone is used for insomnia, it is usually taken in smaller doses and immediately before bedtime.

Trazodone and Insomnia: An Overview

Trazodone hydrochloride (Desyrel®) is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression). The medication is also often used to treat insomnia, although it is not approved for this use.

Can Trazodone Be Used for Insomnia?

Trazodone is a sedating antidepressant, which means that it is likely to cause drowsiness. In fact, drowsiness is one of the most common side effects of the drug. In clinical studies, up to 40.8 percent of people reported drowsiness as one of the side effects. While side effects are usually bothersome, they can sometimes be beneficial for certain people. For example, the drowsiness effect of trazodone can be helpful for people who have insomnia.
Trazodone is especially useful for treating insomnia in people with depression, since it is effective for both conditions. Conversely, some antidepressants are likely to cause insomnia, even when taken in the morning. Trazodone can be used to treat insomnia caused by other antidepressant medications.

Using Trazodone for Insomnia

When trazodone is used as a treatment for depression, it is usually taken up to three times per day. However, when used for insomnia, it is taken only once before bedtime. Also, trazodone dosing for insomnia is lower than the dosage for depression.
Because the effects of trazodone may last into the day, it is important to learn how the medication affects you before driving or operating heavy machinery.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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