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Dangerous Side Effects of Trazodone

author image Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
Dangerous Side Effects of Trazodone
A man with medication pills in his hand. Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Trazodone belongs to a class of medications known as tricyclic antidepressants. These medications increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are two chemicals which regulate mood in the brain. These medications can be used to treat depression and certain other conditions, such as neuropathic pain. They can lead to multiple side effects.

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Cardiovascular Effects

Trazodone can lead to a number of different cardiovascular side effects, explains. Some patients may experience elevated blood pressure, whereas other patients can develop a drop in blood pressure, which is also known as hypotension. The latter can result in patients becoming dizzy when rising suddenly from a sitting or reclining position. Patients can also develop a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Trazodone can also result in shortness of breath.

Psychological Effects

There are a number of different psychological side effects that trazodone use can generate, EMedTV explains. Patients may develop suicidal thoughts, or they may engage in risky or unusual behaviors. Patients may also develop panic attacks or have fits of anxiety or agitation. Trazodone can also lead to restlessness or problems in sitting still. Other psychological side effects of trazodone use include problems with sleeping and rapid mood shifts between extreme happiness and depression. The psychological side effects are more likely in children or in adolescents and require careful monitoring.


Trazodone can also trigger an allergic reaction, explains. The symptoms of an allergic reaction depend on its severity. The least dangerous cases can lead to hives or an itchy rash. Stronger allergies result in swelling of the fingers, face, lips and tongue. Anapylaxis, the most serious type of allergic reaction, results in throat swelling, which can restrict swallowing and breathing. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Sexual Effects

Patients taking trazodone may experience a decrease in their sexual desire or libido. Men can develop an inappropriate, prolonged or painful erection. In general these side effects will go away or become more manageable as the patient adjusts to the medication.

Neurological Effects

RxList lists a number of neurological side effects of trazodone. These include drowsiness and dizziness and memory loss. Trazodone can also lead to decreased concentration, confusion and disorientation. In addition, trazodone use can result in problems with muscle coordination, tremors and numbness or tingling.

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