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Trazodone is a commonly used drug in clinical practice, particularly in the field of psychiatry. In this article, we shall take a look at Trazodone in a bit more detail, talking mostly about the general aspects of the drug.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that is used to treat patients suffering from depression. Contrary to the belief of some, it is not a narcotic analgesic and is unrelated to oxycodone and other opiate drugs. In addition to its antidepressant effects, it is also useful in treating anxiety and to help a patient sleep (if they suffer from insomnia).

Mechanism of action – how does it act?

Trazodone acts by affecting the neurotransmitters released in the brain that are responsible for maintaining a good mood. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine. From a medical point of view, trazodone is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, meaning that it does not allow the binding of serotonin to its receptors. When depressed, there is an imbalance in the level of these neurotransmitters in the brain. Trazodone helps by normalizing the levels of these neurotransmitters, restoring the balance and thus treating depression.

Is it addictive?

Trazodone does not have an addictive potential. Patients can take a while to see any benefits from taking the drug, but taking it for a while and suddenly stopping it can cause withdrawal symptoms This does not mean it is addictive however.

What is it's half life?

Once trazodone is ingested, it is broken down into its various active components that exert its effects on the brain. The peak levels in the blood are achieved an hour after the drug is taken orally. In a way, Trazodone is unique in that it has a 2-stage half life. In the first stage the half life is around 3 to 6 hours, while in the second stage it is around 5 to 9 hours. Some of the breakdown products can cause what are recognized as the side effects of trazodone. Most of what is consumed is excreted through the urine.

Trazodone is commenced at a dose of 150mg which may be either as a single dose or as divided doses. It is started as a small dose and built up gradually depending on the patient’s response. It can take a short while for patients to notice any benefits, so individuals who need this drug need monitoring constantly to ensure they get the right dose.

Clinical applications

The primary use of trazodone is for treating depression. Its anti-anxiety effects are also well recognized. However, it is sometimes used along with other treatments such as aggression, panic attacks and withdrawal from cocaine.

Trazodone is an antidepressant drug that is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It alters the chemical in the brain, restoring the balance and helping patients get over depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It has a biphasic half life, and unlike narcotic drugs has no addictive potential. However, its use must be guided by the advice of a health care professional.

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