Each patient is given an individualized dose of trazodone depending on several factors that include the patient’s age, the medical condition being treated, and other existing medical conditions.
The dosage should be started at the lowest dose possible, then gradually increased until the desired clinical response is achieved. In case of severe drowsiness, the major portion of the daily dose may be taken at bedtime or the dose may be adjusted. Relief of depression symptoms may be apparent during the first week, but the optimal antidepressant effects are expected within two weeks. Like most antidepressant medications, trazodone is given for over several months to completely treat depression.
Take note that this medication guide provides only the average trazodone dosing. It is possible for you to get a completely different dosage. Do not adjust your dose or discontinue the medication without consulting your healthcare provider.
Treatment of Depression
The recommended initial dosage of trazodone is 150 mg/day taken in divided doses. The dose may be adjusted every three to four days with increment of 50 mg/day. The maximum daily dose for outpatients is 400 mg/day in divided doses. Meanwhile, for patients within hospital settings (particularly those with severe depression) may be given a maximum of 600 mg/day in divided doses.
The maintenance dose should be kept at the lowest effective level. Once the desired pharmacologic effects are achieved, the dosage may be gradually reduced. Dose may be adjusted depending on the patient’s response to the treatment.
Treatment of Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Although not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose, trazodone is frequently prescribed “off-label” as a sleep drug. When used as a sleep aid, the usual trazodone dosage is 25 to 50 mg taken at bedtime.
Use in Special Populations
Geriatric patients may tolerate the usual trazodone dosage but depending on the patient’s condition, may be given a lower dose. Pediatric use is not recommended by the FDA.
Since trazodone is metabolized in the kidneys, it is contraindicated in patients with renal impairment. Meanwhile, there are limited studies conducted on the safety of trazodone in patients with liver diseases. It may be taken only if other alternative therapies fail. Trazodone should be used cautiously in these special populations.
Important things to consider when taking trazodone:
- Take the medication exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Take trazodone with a meal or snack to facilitate absorption. Take it around the same time of the day to maintain desired blood levels.
- Do not discontinue the medication even if you feel well. It may take one to two weeks before pharmacologic effects become apparent.
- In case of severe drowsiness, the larger portion of the daily dose may be taken at bedtime.
- If you do not understand the prescription label or have any question, talk to your healthcare provider.