If you haven’t heard of trazodone as a medication to help you treat insomnia, that’s because it’s actually an antipsychotic and antidepressant drug that is commonly prescribed off-label for insomnia. Trazodone has been around for decades, and was intended to treat depression and sometimes other mental conditions. Because it’s a generic drug and it’s been around for a while, trazodone is cheap. Prices vary by pharmacy, but trazodone typically costs from $3 to $15 for a supply of thirty pills.
Advantages of Trazodone
Another advantage of trazodone as a sleep aid in addition to its price is that it’s not considered habit-forming or addictive. Many sleep medications lose their sleep-promoting effect over time and patients become dependent on it, requiring more to get to sleep every night.
Trazodone is said to help improve sleep onset and possibly help with sleep maintenance. Trazodone takes a little longer to take effect than some other prescription sleep medications, and sleep onset can take one to three hours depending on the individual.
Most other popular prescription sleep aids are GABA agonists which calm and slow the central nervous system. Many side effects have been reported for these drugs such as sleep walking, driving, eating and other activities that can be dangerous while asleep, with patients reporting no recollection of having done these activities the following day. Trazodone is not reported to have these types of side effects, and it works by acting on serotonin receptors rather than GABA receptors.
Lastly, trazodone can be used for a longer period of time than some popular prescription sleep medications such as Ambien, which is only recommended to be taken for two weeks at a time. Minimal studies have been done on the use of trazodone to treat insomnia, and none have been done to test the effects over extended periods of time. It is still generally not recommended to take trazodone for extended periods of time for insomnia, but it is not habit-forming, and it has been taken by patients with depression for extensive periods. Talk to your doctor about the possible long-term effects of trazodone.
Trazodone Side Effects
Although trazodone is non-habit forming and not addictive it is not without potential side effects. It may cause dangerously low blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias in some patients, and it is not recommended for patients with heart conditions or the elderly. Because it is an antidepressant and an antipsychotic medication, it can be dangerous for patients with other mental conditions, such as bipolar disorder. It also has the standard black box warning that most antidepressants have: it may cause suicidal thoughts in rare cases, especially young adults and children. It can take up to 12 hours for trazodone to clear the body’s system, and some patients may still feel drowsy the following day.
If you are considering trazodone as an option for helping you manage insomnia, talk to your doctor about this alternative approach to standard sleep medications. For more information about trazodone including all the major side effects, dosages and more, visit our Trazodone Drug Page. On this page, you’ll also find free discount coupons to save on Trazodone today.