Trazodone And Alcohol & Which Drug Interactions Are Not Safe?

Last Updated: November 10, 2021

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Trazodone is a medication that belongs to the drug class serotonin modulators. It is sold under different brand names such as Desyrel and this medication acts on the brain’s neurotransmitters with more emphasis on serotonin inhibition. It prevents the uptake of serotonin by the brain nerves, thereby it is effective for the treatment of depression, insomnia, and also helps with healthy sleep patterns. In 2019, around 5 million patients in the United States used this drug. Furthermore, the concomitant use of this medication with other drugs and substances can lead to severe, dangerous, and moderate Trazodone interactions. For example, mixing Trazodone with alcohol is something that patients treated for depression need to be wary of. Desyrel-alcohol interaction can range from a slight elevation of side effects associated with both substances, such as Desyrel weight gain or loss to more severe symptoms that could be potentially life-threatening.

Trazodone And Alcohol: How Do They Interact?

While this drug is generally considered a much safer option when compared to many of the other antidepressants that have been approved by the FDA, it should be noted that there are some dangerous Trazodone side effects associated with using the drug along with an alcoholic substance. Since both Trazodone and alcohol affect a patient’s central nervous system, as well as respiration, when there is a Desyrel drug overdose, potentially life-threatening complications may occur. Aside from an overdose, one major danger in the combination of Trazodone and alcohol is that there is an increased risk of developing a condition known as Serotonin Syndrome. This condition refers to a significant elevation in serotonin levels within the patient’s brain, which can become fatal.

Furthermore, according to a medical doctor from Australia, the issue with mixing such antidepressants with a spirit substance or beverage is that this antidepressant drug can worsen the way the liquor affects a patient’s mind and body, called alcohol potentiation. This causes a significant increase in the risk of experiencing more severe side effects that are associated with intoxication.

Side Effects Of Trazodone And Alcohol Use

Trazodone is a medication that is used as a treatment in patients with sleep disturbances in alcohol recovery. However, in case of alcohol relapse, it is important to understand that mixing Trazodone with alcohol must be avoided. According to a study of medical professionals from New Zealand, when an antidepressant is taken with alcohol, memory impairment and serious violence may be observed in a patient. Moreover, a patient who uses spirits together with this drug will feel intoxicated faster, and the effects of liquor will be significantly enhanced.

Other Side Effects Of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol Include The Following:

  • Light-headedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty of concentrating

Taking Trazodone and alcohol together may increase the risk for physical dependence, drug addiction, and abuse. Moreover, understand that there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume with Desyrel, and with higher doses of the drug, there is an even greater risk of side-effects. For this reason, it is generally not advised to mix Trazodone with alcohol at all. In case a patient has consumed these two substances, seek emergency medical help for a safer recovery process.

A woman in pain lies in bed because of Trazodone and Alcohol mixture.

Trazodone Interaction With Weed

The concomitant use of Desyrel with weed is dangerous and should be avoided. When these two are combined, the metabolism of Desyrel can be decreased. This will lead to an increase in the level or effect of Desyrel by affecting the hepatic/intestinal enzyme CYP3A4 metabolism. According to medical doctors from Cincinnati, taking Desyrel and the substance weed together cause prolonged central nervous system and respiratory depression.

Hence Patients Will Start to Experience the Following Side Effects:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Impairment thinking and judgment

Take note that no matter what antidepressant a patient is taking, weed must never be consumed as this may produce dangerous adverse effects, including drug abuse and addiction. In case of emergency in terms of this interaction, seek emergency medical help as soon as possible in order to avoid other health dangers. If a patient is seen to be abusing these two substances, consider reaching out to substance abuse centers for a safer recovery process.

Trazodone Interactions With Other Drugs

In this medication, drug-drug Trazodone interactions are also possible. As of today, there are around 1,167 approved Trazodone interactions. Since this drug is a prescription medication, a patient must be cautious when taking it with other medicines. In this section, information about the drugs that may possibly interact with Trazodone will be provided.

Trazodone and Melatonin

In Trazodone and Melatonin interaction, the former is a serotonin modulator while the latter belongs to the drug class herbals for neurology and psychiatry. In terms of their uses, according to medical doctors from Canada, both of these substances are used for the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders, especially in pediatrics.

According to a study of medical doctors from Italy, using Desyrel with Melatonin in patients with insomnia that is associated with mood disorders can help in normalizing the sleep patterns of these patients. Although this Trazodone and Melatonin combination or interaction is safe, when taken together in large doses, an increased risk of adverse effects may occur. For this reason, everyone who is using these substances must use them in compliance with the doctor’s instructions.

Zoloft and Trazodone

In Zoloft and Trazodone interaction, both of these drugs are prescription medications that are used for the treatment of depression. The former belongs to the drug class serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and has a longer half-life, while the latter is a serotonin modulator. This means that both of these drugs increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin to prevent depression.

When Zoloft and Trazodone are taken together, there might be a possibility for Serotonin Syndrome to occur due to overdose. Although this condition rarely happens, this one is fatal. According to the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System in the USA, in 2002, there were 93 people who died from this rare adverse effect.

Other Side Effects When These Drugs Are Taken Together Include the Following:

  • Blood pressure changes
  • Confusion
  • Hallucination
  • Seizure
  • Increase heart rate
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blurred vision

Take note that the side effects listed above are also related to Serotonin Syndrome and this makes this interaction a major one (unsafe). If a patient is experiencing any of the signs or symptoms listed above, seek immediate medical help in order to avoid other dangers to the health, including death.

Trazodone and Xanax

In Trazodone and Xanax interaction, the former belongs to the drug class serotonin modulators while the latter is a benzodiazepine. In terms of their uses, Desyrel is an antidepressant while Xanax is used for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Furthermore, when these two are combined, there could be an increased risk for their adverse effects to be severe.

Moreover, both Trazodone and Xanax are prescription medications and affect the central nervous system. Therefore, this interaction is considered moderate. In case a patient has taken the two drugs out of a doctor’s professional advice, seek immediate medical help in order to avoid dangerous health events.

Benadryl And Trazodone

In Benadryl and Desyrel interaction, the former is an antihistamine while the latter is a serotonin modulator. Although they come from different drug classifications, they have one common use: sleep aid for insomnia. When these two are combined, tachycardia might occur.

Other Side Effects When Benadryl and Desyrel Are Taken Together Include the Following:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating

Although Benadryl is an over-the-counter drug, taking it with Desyrel must be done cautiously as this interaction is considered to be moderate. For safer use, it is advised to never use these drugs at the same time. In case a patient is feeling any of the signs and symptoms above, especially tachycardia, seek medical help as soon as possible.

A man holds different pills and a glass of water.

Lexapro and Trazodone

In Lexapro and Desyrel interaction, both of these drugs are antidepressants. The former is a substance that belongs to SSRIs while the latter is a serotonin modulator. With these descriptions, both of these drugs increase the level of serotonin to prevent and manage depression. Moreover, when these two are combined, there might be a possibility of tachycardia to occur.

Other Side Effects When These Two Are Combined Include the Following:

  • Blood pressure changes
  • Confusion
  • Hallucination
  • Seizure
  • Increase heart rate
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blurred vision

According to researchers from Cambridge University, abuse in the use of these two may increase the risk for Serotonin Syndrome and priapism (painful erection) due to overdose. Because of this, it is safe to say that mixing these two is unsafe. If any of the signs and symptoms above, especially heart rate changes, has been observed in a patient, it is advised to seek emergency medical help.

Trazodone and Gabapentin

In Desyrel and Gabapentin interaction, the former is a serotonin modulator while the latter is an anticonvulsant. Moreover, in terms of their uses, Desyrel is used as an antidepressant while Gabapentin is used for the treatment of seizures. When these two are combined, an increase in the severity of their side effects may occur such as severe dizziness, somnolence, and loss of coordination.

Furthermore, this interaction is considered moderate but relatively safe when taken with caution, such as when the dosage instructions of the doctor are diligently followed. According to the study of medical professionals from Italy, taking Desyrel and Gabapentin together may produce synergistic effects for neuropathic pain.

Trazodone and Tramadol

In this interaction, Desyrel is a serotonin modulator while Tramadol is an opioid. Moreover, the use of Desyrel is for the treatment of depression while the use of Tramadol is for relieving moderate and severe pain. When these two drugs are combined, there might be an increased risk of Serotonin Syndrome.

Other Side Effects When These Two Are Taken Together Include:

  • Confusion
  • Hallucination
  • Seizure
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle spasm

According to medical professionals, taking Desyrel and Tramadol together is lethal. For this reason, this interaction is unsafe. In case these two are taken together, seek immediate medical help in order to avoid health dangers, including death.

Trazodone and Lorazepam

In Trazodone and Lorazepam interaction, the former belongs to the drug class serotonin modulators while the latter is a benzodiazepine. In terms of their uses, Lorazepam is used for the treatment of anxiety while Trazodone is used as an antidepressant. When these two are combined, their side effects may become severe. Although it is safe to use these drugs together, caution must always be in mind. In case a patient has taken the two drugs out of a doctor’s professional advice, seek immediate medical help in order to avoid dangerous health events.

Trazodone and Ibuprofen

In this interaction, Desyrel is a serotonin modulator that is used for the treatment of depression while Ibuprofen belongs to the drug class called NSAIDs. These NSAIDs are used to relieve pain and reduce fever. Furthermore, this type of interaction is moderate and relatively safe. However, at higher doses for both drugs, there may be an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. According to a medical professional from Birmingham, all antidepressants, when taken with Ibuprofen at higher doses, may cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Additionally, in the same study, it was reported that Trazodone is associated with the highest risk of this GI bleeding.

Ambien and Trazodone

In Ambien and Desyrel interaction, the former belongs to the drug class sedative-hypnotics while the latter is a serotonin modulator. Although both of them belong to different classifications, they are both used for the treatment of insomnia. Furthermore, when these two are taken together, the CNS depressant effects of Ambien will be increased. Although considered as moderate drug interaction, this is only safe to combine under the instruction of a medical doctor.

Other Side Effects When Taking These Two Include the Following:

  • Extreme dizziness
  • Somnolence
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired thinking and judgment
  • Loss of coordination

Both of these drugs are prescription medications. Therefore, it is highly advised to not take them without a doctor’s consent. In case a patient is feeling any of the signs and symptoms above, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Always Follow The Doctor’s Instructions

Indeed, in any medication, drug-drug and food-drug interactions are possible. In terms of Desyrel, there are many drugs and substances that may interact with it and some of them may cause fatality, for example, Serotonin Syndrome. On the other hand, although there are some drugs that cause mild interaction, still, these Trazodone interactions may cause side effects, or worsen the Desyrel withdrawal symptoms.

Although Desyrel is used to manage the sleep disturbances of patients undergoing alcohol recovery, it is known that individuals who are experiencing depression, anxiety, and related mental health issues might be at a higher risk of alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and dependence when they are taking this antidepressant. This is another crucial reason why it is not advised to drink when prescribed Desyrel.

Treatment of dual addictions, such as co-occurring alcohol abuse, antidepressant dependence, and addiction requires specific skills and experience. A person with these professional skills can provide a safer and effective recovery process. Moreover, there are rehabilitation centers capable of coping with two disorders at once.

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Published on: April 1st, 2019

Updated on: November 10th, 2021

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.