Trazodone is widely utilised across the globe as a powerful antidepressant agent. However, its use is accompanied by the development of side effects that may require withdrawal of the drug. In this article, we shall briefly look at the different side effects of trazodone use.
Side effects of trazodone
For the purpose of simplicity, we have divided the side-effects of trazodone into numerous subheadings.
Neurological side-effects described the effects of trazodone on the nervous system. The common side effects include mild drowsiness and sedation that may be seen in nearly half the patients on this drug. In addition to this, patients may experience seizures, abnormal muscle contractions, dizziness, tiredness and headache.
One of the main side-effects of trazodone is on sleep. In particular, it can reduce the amount of REM sleep in patients were either depressed or who have normal psychiatric function.
Cardiovascular side-effects describe those which affect the function of the heart. Some other side-effects on the heart seen with trazodone include irregular heartbeats, low blood pressure, ventricular arrhythmias such as ventricle tachycardia, conduction block and atrial fibrillation. However, it is believed that trazodone has fewer side effects on the heart when compared to other antidepressant medication.
Some of the psychiatric side-effects seen with trazodone include mania, agitation and psychosis. Some patients experience hallucinations and can become extremely aggressive.
These are rare but clinical reports have suggested that trazodone can cause priapism in men and clitoral priapism in women.
Trazodone can cause certain eruptions on the skin that are fairly typical of the reaction to this. For example, patients may develop a condition called erythema multiformae which is characterised by a number of different skin lesions on different parts of the body. Drug eruptions have also been reported.
Trazodone can stimulate the pituitary and increase the secretion of the hormone prolactin. This result in a condition called hyperprolactinaemia. In some cases, patients may lose a lot of sodium from their body due to the effect that trazodone has on the pituitary. This can cause hyponatraemia.
Nearly one in three patients on trazodone complains of a dry mouth. Some patients also become rather constipated and may require treatment for this. Trazodone also has an effect on the function of the liver with some cases reporting the development of severe hepatitis that requires admission and could be potentially life-threatening. This however is a rare side effect.
This describes the side-effects of trazodone on the blood and can include anaemia and a reduction in cholesterol, abdomen and calcium levels. This may need monitoring during treatment.
Trazodone is an excellent antidepressant medication that unfortunately has a fair number of side-effects. It should therefore be used only on prescription and the development of side-effects must be monitored constantly. In most cases, the side-effects do not develop but if they do and are causing distress to the patient, the drug may need to be stopped.