Uses of Trazodone
Trazodone is a commonly prescribed drug in clinical practice. It is a powerful drug that can be used in a variety of different clinical conditions. In particular, trazodone works by altering the balance of chemicals in the body, restoring normal functioning of the brain. It is therefore useful in managing psychiatric conditions. Here we take a look at the uses of trazodone in a bit more detail.
Trazodone must be used as a prescription drug only. Not doing so can result in untoward side effects that can be harmful to the patient. It is usually given once or twice a day after food intake, and is started off as a low dose and built up according to the response of the patient. The effects can take a while to show; it can take up to 6 weeks in some cases. Patients are requested not to stop the medication suddenly unless advised to do so by a health care professional.
Trazodone is primarily prescribed to manage clinical depression. Patients who suffer from depression have a significant imbalance in certain neurotransmitter chemicals within the brain that help maintain mood and appropriate function of the brain. In patients who are undergoing stress, have been through a tough time or have a family history of depression, these chemicals can be imbalanced. In the initial stages, this may have no effect, but once the imbalance gets worse, depression ensues. The chemical that is primarily responsible for depression is serotonin. Trazodone is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which in simple terms means that it alters and normalizes the serotonin levels in the brain and restores normal mood. One main advantage of using trazodone over other anti-depressant medication is that it has limited side effects on the heart and is backed by strong scientific evidence.
But the use of trazodone is not just limited to depression. Patients with stress related problems or psychiatric issues may have difficulty sleeping. While not the first line choice in managing difficulty sleeping, it is still prescribed for patients with insomnia.
Another application of trazodone is the management of anxiety disorder. There are certain off label uses of trazodone as well. These include management of alcohol withdrawal, panic attacks, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder. It does seem to have some benefit in erectile dysfunction, though it is not the first line choice in managing this condition.
In elderly patients, trazodone can cause a drop in blood pressure that can be disastrous if not treated appropriately. It should therefore be used cautiously in this group of patients.
Trazodone is an excellent drug in managing clinical depression, though it does seem to have other applications as well. It must be used on prescription only.