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Adrienne Dellwo

Trazodone as a Fibromyalgia Treatment

By September 15, 2010

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Research Brief

A small study just published in the online version of BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders shows that the drug trazodone may be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. However, researchers warn of a serious side effect.

Researchers say trazodone made participants sleep better and longer, improved how they felt and functioned, and lessened their anxiety and depression. They also report tachycardia (rapid heart beat) in more than 20% of patients and recommend close monitoring. Tachycardia is a known side effect of this drug, but it surprised researchers by its frequency and severity in this study.

Trazodone is sold under the brand name Desyrel. It's classified as an atypical antidepressant, but it has some factors in common with both tricyclics (such as amitriptyline or doxepin) and SSRIs (fluoxetine, paroxetine.) It's a more effective sedative than other antidepressants and is often prescribed as a sleep aid. It also blocks some nerve transmissions.

In addition to tachycardia, side effects include:

  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Falls
  • Sexual dysfunction, including painful erections
  • Suicidal thoughts or other mood changes
  • Trembling
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Get more information on this drug: Trazodone.

Learn more or join the conversation!


September 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm
(1) Annie says:

A doctor whom I no longer go to, put me on this drug. I could not get out of bed in the morning.

I was so tired all the time. It just took all my energy away. We know, we already have no energy.

This is not a good choice for us. Unless you want to be a walking Zombie…

September 17, 2010 at 8:40 am
(2) Vicky says:

My Rheumatologist put me on this a few months ago when Savella wasn’t working. It has helped me a lot. I have more energy, and I sleep much much better than before.

The only side effect I have it that it is still hard to wakeup in the morning.

September 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm
(3) Deb says:

I always had trouble sleeping and was put on this a long time ago. It has really helped me. I find drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the am helps me wake up faster. I use to get up about 15 times a night due to pain or BR problems-always felt like had to urinate, but taking this helps me stay asleep better needing to get up only 2 times a night. That’s a much better sleep! It really has helped me!

September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm
(4) Susan says:

I’ve used Tradodone 25 mg with 1mg of clonazepam every night for years and I get great sleep with very little hangover effect.

September 17, 2010 at 6:35 pm
(5) Karen says:

I have been using this drug, for several months now, with no issues. I also, don’t use it every night. I will use an over the counter sleep aid or melatonin. I find that once I wake up, if I lie in bed for about 15 minutes, all the sleepy feeling goes away.

May I also say, that this weekly blog is so good. It has made me realize that I am not the only one out there with these issues!

September 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(6) Lynn says:

Trazadone was the bane of my existence when it was prescribed for me. Absolutely could not function. Couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. When I finally did drag myself up, I was in a perpetual fog. I quit one doctor that insisted I give it another try. I will never take that drug again. BTDT period.

September 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm
(7) Francesca says:

I’ve been on this medication for 3 years to help with terrible insomnia. It sure does help my insomnia, it knocks me out, even 3 years later. However, I have little to no energy during the day, no matter how long I sleep. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome ALL while AFTER having been on trazodone for quite awhile – is it coincidence, may be.. has it helped my fibromyalgia? probably not.

Also – I do not like this drug b/c I am severely addicted to it. Whenever I miss a dose I get very nervous, irritable, short of breath, have trembling, and plenty of other side effects. It will mess me up for 2 or 3 days if I miss a dose. I keep telling my doctor that I want to get off of it, but no one seems to be too concerned (except me and my husband who are the only ones that really see the side effects).

I caution anyone to be using medication to help sleep since many of these drugs can be so addictive – it’s also important to recognize that the doctors usually don’t tell us this – and many people don’t even think about addicition when they are put on a prescription strength dosage of a prescription medication. Can’t happen to me !!! (Yes, it sure can).

Even though it’s so hard for us to exercise, I think that should be the first line of treatment for insomnia – as well as improved nutrition. I’ve found that the more drugs my doctors want to pump into me, the worse I eventually feel. It’s all poison. I know that some of us absolutely need some of these things (I may be one of these people), but I just want everyone to think really hard about being on these drugs before going onto them. There are a lot of things doctors just aren’t telling us.

September 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm
(8) Sue says:

I have been using Trazadone 50mg every night for about 18 months and it has done wonders for me. I am able to finally sleep! I have had no side effects.

September 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm
(9) SerenityAdara says:

I was on Trazadone for almost a year.

It did NOTHING to help my sleep or any of my other Fibromyalgi/CFS symptoms. It only seemed to make me MORE TIRED & DEPRESSED.

Also it gives you the most HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES and that is a known side effect of the drug.

I would NOT recommend Trazadone.

September 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm
(10) Autumn says:

I, too was on trazadone for several years because it is not addictive?!!!I had a 5 hour surgery. After that I was tremering , could not think …I thought I had alheimerz’s. I had also gone to the er for dehydration. You need to be off trazadone at least several months before surgey and all ssri’s. They cause serious side effects. My mother is dead due to a blood clot to the lung. She had Fibro , too . When you get dehydrated , what happens? Your blood thickens. I would really research if you decide to take this drug and you do not suddenly quit taking Xanax, HBP meds or an antidepressant. It does work , but again I would rather take something that is in and out a lot faster. There are too manty reactions with this drug.

September 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm
(11) Geri says:

I agree with Karen. I had so many symptoms I didn’t relate to fibromyalgia or think were real. I have found this site so helpful. I was diagnosed 23 years ago & chose not to take the medication offered, it made me too dopey to work. I also didn’t want the side effects I just dealt with the pain with heat & rest. I was in a very stressful relationship when I was 1st diagnosed when it was over I can’t say I felt a lot better but I had the freedom to lay down when I was tired & rest. Stress from either emotional or illness are triggers for a relapse for me. I have had gallbladder problems for months felt deathly ill & extreme exhaustion. It took some extra tests until the surgeon was convinced it should be removed. I took longer than the nurse who also had it removed to recover(she told me 3 days) but considering what I have I feel I’m recovering well. Thank you everyone for sharing.

September 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm
(12) Marcia says:

I tried Trazodone once and felt so drugged…hard to wake up in the morning. AND, it didn’t seem to help..I take Lunesta now and it helps me sleep like a normal person with no side effects. I also take SAM-E (400mg) instead of an antidepressant…helps so much with no side effects either..You can’t take Sam-E if you are already taking an antidepressant without consulting your doc

September 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm
(13) Trish Crace says:

I have had Fibro now for 17 years and my doctors and I have tried everything to improve my quality of life. Some medications would help for awhile and then they would begin to be less affective. When Lyrica was advertised, I ask my doctor if I could try…he agreed…it was the best thing that ever happened to me until we lost our health insurance due to very high rates. I have been unsuccessful in being able to get. During that time we tried everything to help with the insomnia; nothing seemed to work until he suggested Trazedone. I had seen patients on the drug and was very apprehensive. I was told it was the last alternative…and if it did not work, there was nothing else he could do…so, I tried it and have been on it now for 2 years. I have never slept so well and so side effects!

October 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm
(14) Sharon says:

I’ve suffer with severe back pain I need surgey but I am high risk. 70% – 30% not in my favor. I tore the mussels and ligaments and nerves away from my spine. was told I have a degenerate disc diease also had herniated1,2,3 and 4,5,6 disc in my lower lumbar where budging. This happen 5/14/1999. Since L-1 clash last year L-2 & L-3 clash 2 weeks ago and L-4 L-5 L-6 are rubbing bone. I have had 59 block since 2003 usally 3 at a time 2 or 3 times a year. This has cause other things to go wrong. I have Hp-O thryroid, and several other sever thing going on. espeical with my kidneys. I can not sleep because of the pain I have 4 types of arthritis this goes on for days I’m willing to try this not every night but after several days with out sleep I’ve try other medicines nothing works.

October 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm
(15) Jude says:

this drug did put me to sleep through the night. No other’s do.

Big problem, i like to take a exercise class at 8:00am and i could not get out of bed until 10:00 or 11:00 and still felt in a haze all day.

I still have problems with sleep and don’t use anything.

Strangly, i go though period of not sleeping or feeling tired for a couple nights in a row.

I exercise too. I have even taken a aerobic class and yoga at 7:30pm, still no sleep two nights in a row.

Anyone else get no sleep nights and execise regularly?

Before FM, i slept like a baby after my aerobic classes.


Trazadone made me a walking zombie. No way, I have to much too do and want a life. Not willing to have a good night sleep and give up my days to zombiehood.

If it works for some, great. Just not for me.

December 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm
(16) Red says:

I was on it for a short time and not only did it not help to accomplish restful sleep, I was troubled with some SCARY nightmares! I have CF & Fibro and have had them for at least 34 yrs. As soon as I hear about new medicines my doctor lets me try them but Trazadone is an older medicine and it sucks!

January 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(17) Mary Ellen says:

I have been on trazodone more than two years, find it helpful with sleep, have had no side effects whatever. Good stuff.

March 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm
(18) Kare Bradley says:

I too have Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with it after having breast cancer and chemo in 2006. I am a mail carrier and it has been so stressful. out of 7 days a week, at least 5 of them i only sleep 3 to 4 hrs a night. Then I finally get so exhausted that i do get 1 night of full sleep then the next night it is right back to the same 3 hrs. I was given Trazadone also, if I take it does nothing, I take 1 1/2 i sleep the same and if i take 2 I have no control of myself. I feel real lupy. I have been perscribed so many sleep aides that dont work. Just Friday I went and was perscribed Nortriptyline. Dont know how this one will work. I experience severe body aches, dizzy spells, fatigue and insomina. I explained to the docotr that this is not safe since i am a mail carrier and I drive and walk all day. At a loss as what to do…

June 1, 2011 at 11:28 am
(19) Greg Hall says:

I have been on Trazadone 50mg a night for 15 yrs for Fibromyalgia. It works for me with no side effects. Just don’t missa night or it can take up to 3 days to feel less pain again. My Dr. was way ahead of the curve in prescribing Trazadone. Note: Stick with the same brand of Trazadone if possible, I can tell the difference in brands when the pharmacy switched.

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