Trazodone, an antidepressant medication, can help manage symptoms of depressive disorder, anxiety, and insomnia. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means that it helps change the serotonin levels in the brain. By altering serotonin levels in the brain, Trazodone elevates mood and improves sleep quality, but how long does it take for Trazodone to work? The truth is, there isn’t one answer to this question.
How long Trazodone takes to work can vary from person to person and what you are taking it for. Some people start feeling better within a few days, while others may need up to 4 weeks (or longer) before they notice a significant improvement in symptoms.
The time it takes for this antidepressant medication and sleep aid to become effective depends on several factors, including dosage, individual chemistry, what it’s being taken for, and if you’re taking any other medications concurrently.
Read on to learn everything you need to know regarding how long it takes for Trazodone to work before you consider getting Trazodone online or in-person with a prescription.
Will Trazodone Help Immediately?
Trazodone is an antidepressant and a commonly used sleep medicine that does not work immediately for everyone. It may take a while to experience the full impact. For some, that can be as long as 4 – 6 weeks. Others, though, might start feeling the benefits of this medication in just a day or 2.
How long does Trazodone take to work for depression? Trazodone treats symptoms of depression and depressive disorder by altering serotonin levels in the brain, which can elevate moods, diminishing feelings of depression or despair. Some research suggests that Trazodone’s efficacy is comparable to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) types like Zoloft. Trazodone can start relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety in 4 – 6 weeks.
We know from multiple studies that this sleep medicine can be effective in treating both primary and secondary chronic insomnia — but how long does Trazodone take to work and what does it do? Trazodone helps with sleep quality by calming the brain and reducing anxiety levels because of its sedative effect. This means people can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Most people start to feel the sedative effect of Trazodone for sleep about 30 – 60 mins after taking their prescribed dose.
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“The sedating effects are immediate if the dose is correct. It will help you fall asleep within an hour of taking the medication.”– Talkspace psychiatrist Dr. Dion Metzger
Food can impact how quickly the sleep aid medication is absorbed into your system. For example, when taking Trazodone on an empty stomach, you might feel the medicine working more rapidly, sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. On the other hand, if you’ve just eaten a big meal, it might take up to 2 hours for Trazodone to begin working.
How Do You Know If Trazodone Is Working?
It may take a while to see the full impact of Trazodone for your mental health, but you can tell if it’s having an effect along the way.
When starting Trazodone, many people say they feel more relaxed within a week of starting the medication. This could include feeling less anxious or having an improved sense of well-being overall. Additionally, you might start sleeping better during this time frame as well.
After 2 weeks on Trazodone, you might notice further improvements in mood and anxiety levels. In addition, sleep quality patterns should continue to normalize. You may also find you’re able to think more clearly and have increased energy throughout the day due to better sleep at night.
By 3 weeks of taking Trazodone, most people see a considerable decrease in symptoms linked to depression or anxiety. However, your doctor may suggest increasing the dosage if you aren’t seeing enough improvement by now.
At 4 weeks, most Trazodone patients report significantly reduced symptoms. They experience fewer episodes of sadness or fearfulness and improved concentration and focus while completing tasks throughout the day without feeling overwhelmed.
Keep in mind that while you will notice a difference in symptoms, you may also experience side effects of Trazodone. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.
Factors that Affect the Onset of Trazodone’s Effects
A variety of elements can influence how quickly Trazodone takes effect. For example, the dose of the medication, your metabolism, what else (and when) you’ve eaten or had anything to drink — including alcohol — and if you’re taking other medications can all play a role in the onset of effects.
“Factors that may make Trazodone less effective are the dose being too low or if it’s combined with substances that negatively impact sleep such as caffeine and alcohol.”– Talkspace psychiatrist Dr. Dion Metzger
What to Do When Trazodone is Not Working
If you’ve been taking Trazodone for more than two weeks and still don’t feel any better or are still experiencing sleep problems, consult your physician to discuss your dosage or changing meds. It’s important not to make any significant adjustments to how much or when you’re taking Trazodone without talking to your doctor first as you may experience Trazodone withdrawal symptoms.
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- Jaffer KY, Chang T, Vanle B, et al. Trazodone for Insomnia: A Systematic Review. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2017;14(7-8):24-34. Published 2017 Aug 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842888/. Accessed March 10, 2023.
- Papakostas GI, Fava M. A meta-analysis of clinical trials comparing the serotonin (5HT)-2 receptor antagonists Trazodone and nefazodone with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for the treatment of major depressive disorder. European Psychiatry. 2007;22(7):444-447. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2007.01.1220 . https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17418537/. Accessed March 10, 2023.
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