Trazodone for Anxiety: Is It Effective

Trazodone is a brand name of amitriptyline. Amitriptyline is used as an antidepressant medication. It is not only prescribed for treatment of depression but it also helps with insomnia, anxiety, and other mental disorders.

The drug was developed in the 1960’s by Pfizer Inc., which later became part of AstraZeneca Plc. (NYSE:AZN).

In the 1970’s, amitriptyline was approved for treating schizophrenia. Later, it was found to have some benefits when used in patients with bipolar disorder. However, there are still concerns about its safety and effectiveness in these conditions.

It is important to note that the drug is available under several brand names including Lexapro®, Seroquel® and Desyrel®.

Lexapro® is a prescription medicine used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It works by increasing the amount of noradrenaline in your brain. Noradrenaline increases your mood, reduces anxiety, and helps you feel better.

Seroquel® is a prescription medicine used to treat schizophrenia and psychosis associated with HIV/AIDS or any other serious psychiatric illness. It is also used to treat depression in patients who have tried other medications but they did not help or caused unwanted effects. It works by changing the actions of certain chemicals within your brain.

Desyrel® is a prescription medicine used to treat depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you feel better, and decrease the amount of histamine, a neurotransmitter that causes you to feel anxious, within your brain.

It is important to note that in the past it was a popularly used as a recreational drug due to its euphoric effects.

However, the side effects of this drug can be serious. It can worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions.

Side effects you should report to your doctor immediately include: mood or mental problems, confusion, worsening of your psychiatric condition, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, allergic reactions like swelling of the tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing.

There are several important things you should know about the drug before taking it, as prescribed by your physician.

The following symptoms should be reported to your physician immediately: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, blurred vision, chest pain, dizziness, fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills or sweats, flu-like symptoms, muscle weakness.

Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than prescribed by your doctor. This can lead to serious side effects.

Do not give the drug to individuals below 18 years of age.

You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid these activities that can lead to injuries, like driving or using machinery.

Do not drink alcohol as it can worsen the side effects of the drug.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning booths. It may cause a negative reaction when exposed to sunlight. Your skin could become more sensitive to light and you may get severe sunburn, blisters, redness or skin rash.

Diabetes patients – The drug can cause changes in blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

Do not stop using this drug suddenly or you may have withdrawal symptoms. Report any withdrawal symptoms to your doctor.

There are several medications that can interact with this drug so inform all the doctors prescribing you drugs about all the medications you take, including herbal products.

You may experience diarrhea or constipation; consult your physician before taking any steps.

Storage instructions for this drug are: Store in a cool, dry place. Keep the medication away from direct sunlight.

This will help you remember when to take the drug at the right time. Quick medical attention is required in case of an overdose. Keep a record of all prescription and non-prescription medicine you use.

This will help doctors find out what drugs are causing an allergic reaction. If you have long term use of this drug, you may experience withdrawal effects when you stop taking it suddenly, therefore consult your physician for a medication schedule to reduce the risk of withdrawal effects.

Sources & references used in this article:

Antidepressants for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a placebo-controlled comparison of imipramine, trazodone, and diazepam by K Rickels, R Downing, E Schweizer… – Archives of General …, 1993 – jamanetwork.com

Drug treatment of panic disorder: the comparative efficacy of imipramine, alprazolam, and trazodone. by DS Charney, SW Woods, WK Goodman… – The Journal of clinical …, 1986 – psycnet.apa.org

Evaluation of trazodone in the treatment of anxiety. by D Wheatley – Current Therapeutic Research, 1976 – psycnet.apa.org

Use of trazodone as an adjunctive agent in the treatment of canine anxiety disorders: 56 cases (1995–2007) by ME Gruen, BL Sherman – Journal of the American Veterinary …, 2008 – Am Vet Med Assoc

Trazodone: a review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic use in depression and anxiety by RN Brogden, RC Heel, TM Speight, GS Avery – Drugs, 1981 – Springer

Rediscovering trazodone for the treatment of major depressive disorder by A Fagiolini, A Comandini, MC Dell’Osso, S Kasper – CNS drugs, 2012 – Springer

Recent studies on selective serotonergic antidepressants: trazodone, fluoxetine, and fluvoxamine by AF SCHATZBERG, E DESSAIN, P O’NEIL… – Journal of clinical …, 1987 – journals.lww.com

Off-label uses of trazodone: a review by L Bossini, I Casolaro, D Koukouna… – Expert opinion on …, 2012 – Taylor & Francis