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Trazodone is an anti-depressant which also has use (in some countries, an off label use) for insomnia. This is due to it's hypnotic affect, and the fact that it makes you drowsy when you use it. This is the same drug they tried a few times with me in the hospital - with no luck.
Friends of mine, though, take the stuff every night. And have done so for years. They cannot sleep without it.
Side Effects of Trazodone
Here's a list of potential side effects, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- Headache or heaviness in head
- Nausea, vomiting, or bad taste in mouth
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Weakness or tiredness
- Decreased ability to concentrate or remember things
- Muscle pain
- Blurred vision
- Tired, red, or itchy eyes
- Ringing in ears
And if that weren't enough, there's also a list of serious side effects with which you should call your doctor (or 911) immediately:
- Chest pain
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Decreased coordination
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Painful erection that lasts longer than normal
It looks to me that, like everything else you take for sleep, there's a potential for huge downside. I wonder if people ever know this before they start taking something that the medical community (in my own experience) has deemed "safe"?
Maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but I could find little about the long term use of drugs like Trazodone, other than the standard "you should take it as infrequently as possible, and only as long as your doctor says". It has been "proven safe" for up to three years.
Like I said at the beginning, I have friends that have taken it for years. What I have learned doing all this sleep research is that most/all sleep drugs lose their "real" effectiveness in a matter of weeks or months. So if that's true for this drug, than the action that must be happening is some kind of physical addiction (you need to have the drug or you can't function, even though it no longer acts on the condition you are taking it for - in our case, insomnia) or a purely placebo effect. But that might be one and the same thing.
If you have any experience (short or long term) with Trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Trittico, or Mesyrel) I'd love to know about it!