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Trazodone (Oleptro, Desyrel)

How does this medicine work?

Trazodone (traz-oh-dohn) is a special type of antidepressant used to treat depression (extreme sadness) or sleeplessness. It also may be used to treat other conditions.

Trazodone regulates the mood by increasing the available amount of certain brain chemicals.

How should I give it?

Trazodone comes in pill form. It can also be made into liquid by your pharmacist.

Give it at regular times, to keep a steady level in the bloodstream.

___ If using the liquid form, shake well right before using. Draw up the correct amount in the medicine dropper or oral syringe. Give a small squirt of the medicine inside the cheek. To avoid choking, let your child swallow each squirt before giving more.

___ For children who cannot swallow pills:

  • Crush it between 2 spoons or crush it inside a plastic bag or in folded paper.
  • Mix the powder with a very small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of soft food, such as applesauce, chocolate syrup, ice cream, jelly, or yogurt. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

This medicine may be given with food to prevent stomach upset. Follow any other directions provided by your doctor or nurse practitioner.

There are certain medicines that interact with trazodone. Tell your doctor or nurse practitioner right away if your child is taking carbamazepine (Tegretol®) or any antifungal medicines by mouth. Please check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs or vitamins.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember. Never give a double dose. If your child misses two doses, call the clinic.

If your child vomits (throws up) within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, please call the clinic for instructions.

What are the side effects?


  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness, dizziness
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • nausea (upset stomach)
  • vomiting (throwing up)


  • tiredness or weakness
  • constipation (hard stools)
  • diarrhea (loose stools)
  • muscle twitching
  • change in taste

The person taking this medicine should not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until it is clear that no risky side effects are present.

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • very dizzy or lightheaded
  • fainting
  • blood in urine
  • shortness of breath
  • irregular heartbeat
  • vomiting that you think is due to the medicine
  • significant worsening of depression
  • suicidal thinking
  • prolonged, inappropriate, or painful erection occurs. Stop the medicine and call the clinic. If it continues, go to the emergency room.

What else do I need to know?

When using this medication to treat depression, it may take 6 weeks to see the full effect of the medication.

Check with the doctor or nurse practitioner before stopping this medicine. The dose is usually lowered over time.

Watch your child for worsening symptoms, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of taking it, or when the dose is changed.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care. Please bring the medicine container when your child comes to the clinic or emergency department.

Always make sure you have enough medicine on hand. Each time you refill your prescription, check to see how many refills are left. If no refills are left, the pharmacy will need 2 or 3 days to contact the clinic to renew the prescription.

Check the label and expiration date before giving each dose. Ask your pharmacist what to do with outdated or unused medicines. If there is no "take-back" program empty them into the trash.

Store all medicines in their original container and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children's reach, locked up if possible.

If too much or the wrong kind of medicine is taken, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call your clinic or pharmacy.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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