Is Trazodone a Narcotic or a Controlled Substance – Drug Class

8. Is Trazodone a Narcotic or a Controlled Substance1
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Learn more about the classification, legality, and range of applications of trazodone by reading this article.

In the United States, trazodone is neither considered a narcotic nor a controlled substance., but it does require a prescription and carry risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize trazodone as a controlled substance because studies have not shown that people who take trazodone are likely to start abusing the drug.

Trazodone is also not a drug of abuse. Narcotics are opioids, which are drugs that reduce pain by obstructing pain receptors in the brain. In order to treat depression, the antidepressant drug trazodone modifies neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain. As it interacts with these intricate brain regions, it can also make people drowsy, which is one reason why doctors will occasionally prescribe it off-label for insomnia.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone was created as an antidepressant drug in Italy in the 1960s. Early on, the antidepressant wasn’t well-liked by the medical community because of its adverse side effects, which included fainting, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and in rare cases, priapism in men. However, eventually internists and clinicians became aware of the medication’s potential advantages, particularly when used in low doses. The drug’s generic name, trazodone, was authorized by the United States in 1981. Desyrel is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Today, the drug is used to treat anxiety disorder, unipolar depression, and sleep disorders like insomnia under the brand name Oleptro.

Is Trazodone a Narcotic?

Drugs classified as narcotics include both legally prescribed medications and illegal substances that are distributed through street trade. Because they are addictive, narcotics like opioid painkillers are categorized in this way. Codeine, fentanyl, methadone, and tramadol are some of the most frequently used and abused narcotics.

The drug trazodone is not a narcotic and is not typically thought to be addictive. Although the medication is most frequently used as a generic antidepressant, it also has hypnotic (sleep-inducing) properties. Although it’s primarily used to treat major depressive disorder, it can also be prescribed to patients to treat anxiety and insomnia. Make sure to talk to your doctor before using trazodone for sleep.

Serotonin, histamine, and norepinephrine are among the neurotransmitters that trazodone affects. It is thought that one of the main causes of depression is an imbalance in these neurotransmitters. Trazodone is thought to block the uptake of serotonin by brain cells, increasing the amount of serotonin that is available.

Trazodone has broader effects that include enhancing mood, energy, and appetite in addition to treating depression. The brain’s serotonin levels are brought back into balance as a result. Trazodone also has additional off-label uses that the FDA has not formally approved. Dementia-related aggressive behavior, insomnia, and agitation are a few of these.

Is Trazodone a Controlled Substance?

Prescription drugs with the potential for addiction and abuse are classified as controlled substances. The federal government regulates controlled substances because their use could have a negative impact on the user. State and federal law enforcement may take action against a person who is found in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Drugs can fall into different categories under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I controlled substances, for instance, are regarded as dangerous, have a high potential for abuse, and have no recognized medical use. Heroin is one substance that belongs to the Schedule I. Drugs in schedule II have a high potential for abuse but may be used for medical reasons; the risk of abuse decreases gradually in the schedule categories that follow. You haven’t broken the law if you get these drugs on a prescription and buy them legally.

The United States does not list trazodone as a controlled substance., but there are still risks involved. Patients should always exercise caution when using it and adhere to their doctor’s recommendations.

Why Trazodone is Not a Controlled Substance

A controlled substance is a drug that can only be obtained with a prescription and under very specific restrictions. The federal government regulates drugs that are classified as controlled substances because it believes that they may have an unfavorable impact on the user. Someone may be subject to legal repercussions, such as fines, incarceration, and probation, if they are found in possession of a controlled substance that is not legal for them to possess.

The majority of controlled substances are in this category because of the risk of addiction and abuse. Trazodone is not regarded as an addictive substance due to its low risk of abuse. Trazodone can cause dependence, but aside from withdrawal, there aren’t likely to be many negative effects from using it.

The controlled substances act allows for the classification of drugs into a number of groups. For instance, a Schedule I controlled substance like heroin has no recognized medical use, a high potential for abuse, and is never thought to be safe to use. The list then moves on to drugs classified as Schedule II, which have a high potential for abuse but may also have some medical use. Methamphetamine is an illustration of this, which is occasionally used to treat obesity or obstinate ADHD. There are also drugs on the Schedule III, IV, and V.

Trazodone is not a controlled substance, like many other prescription drugs, but there are still some risks involved in using it. It can be utilized erratically, excessively, or without a prescription. Abuse is the use of Trazodone in any way other than what is prescribed.

Trazodone’s Drug Class

Trazodone is a member of the antidepressant drug class; more specifically, it is categorized as an atypical antidepressant and a serotonin modulator.

This indicates that it is not chemically related to other classes of antidepressants that are frequently prescribed, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors). On the other hand, trazodone and nefazodone share a chemical relationship and have similar effects.

A type of medication known as a serotonin modulator has multiple effects on the serotonin neurotransmitter system. The fact that there are different serotonin receptor subtypes and that not all receptors are affected by the effects of SSRIs led to the development of these kinds of medications.

Trazodone doesn’t impair brain activity or thinking, even though it may be able to treat insomnia. This is in contrast to other medications like benzodiazepines that can make you sleepy.

Taking too much trazodone carries extremely serious risks, despite the anecdotal reports linking high doses of the medication to hallucinations. Trying to use it recreationally is risky.

Does Trazodone Cause Sleepiness?

The medication has a sedative effect on many patients, causing them to feel at ease and sleepy. Physicians typically advise taking a low dose of the medication at bedtime to lessen the effects of drowsiness when prescribing it for sleep disorders. However, some people experience lingering side effects, particularly when they first wake up, such as sluggishness and a lack of energy.

How Does Trazodone Help to Alleviate Depression?

Trazodone boosts the central nervous system’s natural neurotransmitters, essentially replenishing the brain’s depleted chemical reserves. One of these crucial neurotransmitters, serotonin, controls our internal clock for sleeping and waking up as well as our mood, appetite, digestion, memory, and sexual function and desire. Many professionals think that depression is caused by an imbalance of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain.) Trazadone alters the brain’s neurotransmitters by preventing serotonin from being absorbed by nerves and stimulating other nerves, though the exact cause of depression is unknown.

8. Is Trazodone a Narcotic or a Controlled Substance2

How Quickly Does the Drug Take Effect?

Depending on the medication, patients who take it for a sleep disorder can feel the sedative effects within 30 minutes. When taking the medication as an antidepressant, patients may experience partial benefits up to four weeks after starting treatment before experiencing symptom relief.

Is It Safe to Take Trazodone to Treat Depression?

Trazodone may result in side effects in some people, just like all other medications. Inquire about all possible side effects, drug interactions, and withdrawal symptoms that might be brought on by the medication with your doctor.

Do All Antidepressant Drugs Work the Same Way?

Despite the fact that all antidepressants aim to alter brain chemistry, different pharmaceutical formulations of the drugs have unique targets and mechanisms. Reuptake inhibitors are the most widely recommended antidepressants. Reuptake, as described by WebMD, is “the process in which neurotransmitters are naturally reabsorbed back into nerve cells in the brain after they are released to send messages between nerve cells.” By maintaining neurotransmitter levels in the space between nerves, a reuptake inhibitor may strengthen the brain circuits that control mood. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) are the three types. Common SSRIs include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa, and Luvox, while common SNRIs include Cymbalta and Effexor. There is only one medication that contains NDRIs, and that is Wellbutrin.

Because trazodone doesn’t fall under any of these categories, it’s often referred to as an “atypical antidepressant.”

Is It Safe to Take Trazodone for Insomnia?

Trazodone was initially developed to treat depression and anxiety disorders, but it is now frequently prescribed as a nighttime sleep aid for patients who experience severe insomnia.

How is Trazodone Different from Other “sleeping Pill” Drugs?

Trazodone differs from Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta and other “sleeping pill” medications in a few ways:

  • Both Ambien and Lunesta are classified by the FDA as controlled substances because they have the potential for misuse and abuse, including dependence or addiction
  • Because trazodone is not a controlled substance, physicians aren’t limited in how many pills they can prescribe
  • It’s an inexpensive generic drug covered by most insurance companies
  • It’s not considered to be an addictive substance when used as prescribed

Notably, breastfeeding mothers and those who are pregnant should not take trazodone.

What Risks Are Associated With Taking Trazodone to Treat Depression?

Patients under 24 are at higher risk, especially in terms of their mental health. According to Medline Plus, the following side effects and symptoms can occur among patients under age 24: “new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; and frenzied abnormal excitement.” It’s critical to contact a doctor or other medical expert right away if any of these side effects or symptoms are felt.

It’s also imperative that patients know what to avoid while taking other antidepressants, such as SNRIs or SSRIs. Before treating themselves with an over-the-counter medication for a cold, trouble sleeping, or allergies, a person should consult a doctor. According to Psychiatry Advisor, one patient who was taking melatonin for insomnia while also prescribed an SSRI woke up with a “headache, dizziness and feeling like his face was on fire”—signs of elevated blood pressure that could have been severe had he taken higher doses. Combining an antidepressant drug with dietary supplements, like St. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is more likely to occur when taking St. John’s wort or aspirin. Making a list of all your prescription, over-the-counter, and dietary supplements and giving it to your doctor before taking trazodone is advised by experts to help prevent adverse drug reactions.

Is It Safe to Use Trazodone With Alcohol Or Other Drugs?

No, you should not combine alcohol and trazodone because they both have negative effects on the central nervous system. Furthermore, the onset of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal adverse drug reaction, can occur when the medication is combined with drugs of abuse. Despite the fact that trazodone abuse is unlikely, doses above 600 mg. in 24 hours is an overdose.

What Happens If You Take Too Much Trazodone? Can It Cause Serotonin Syndrome?

Serotonin syndrome occurs when, according to Mayo Clinic, “high levels of serotonin accumulate in the body.” This drug-drug interaction causes overstimulation of central and peripheral receptors. According to the journal U.S. Pharmacist, “The most frequent cause of serotonin syndrome (SS) is the concomitant use of certain antidepressant medications with other medications that alter synaptic serotonin levels. Drug-drug interactions, which can result in serotonin syndrome or other severe serotonin toxicity, may happen when patients take two or more antidepressants from different pharmacologic classes.” Serotonin syndrome symptoms can appear as early as two hours after taking a higher dose or adding another serotonergic medication and can last up to 24 hours.

Signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome:

  • Tremors
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Tachycardia
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Renal failure
  • Death

What Are the Side Effects of Trazodone?

Trazodone use can result in a drop in the body’s sodium levels, a disturbance of the nervous system, or serotonin syndrome. The most common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness (including feeling groggy the next day)
  • Dizziness (including an increased risk of fainting/falling)
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in hands, arms or legs
  • Blurred vision
  • Disorientation
  • Vertigo
  • Nasal congestion
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Prolonged and painful erections lasting longer than six hours (priapism)
  • Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Heart rhythm disorders
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents (even when taken at approved doses for depression)
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Insomnia (at high doses)
  • Weight gain or loss

42 hours after the last dose, the drug can still be found in a person’s system. More severe side effects may be experienced at higher doses.

Can You Become Addicted to Trazodone?

Despite the fact that the medication is thought to be non-addictive and non-habit forming, it should only be used as directed and under a doctor’s supervision to prevent misuse. For those who have a history of drug addiction or substance abuse, this is especially crucial. Use of the sleep aid or antidepressant without a prescription, taking it in higher doses than recommended, or snorting or crushing the pills to hasten the effects is all indications of drug abuse.

Can You Fail a Drug Test While Taking Trazodone?

Despite not being a narcotic, the antidepressant/sleep aid can result in false positives on drug tests. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Results from urine amphetamine immunoassays can be falsely positive when the trazodone metabolite meta-Chlorophenylpiperazine [m-CPP] is present.…Furthermore, we discovered that people taking trazodone can produce urine with enough m-CPP to cause false-positive results for amphetamines II.”

What Are Trazodone’s Withdrawal Symptoms?

Although the medication is not technically addictive, regular use can lead to a slight physical dependence. Trazodone withdrawal is a concern because of this. Rather than discontinuing use “cold-turkey,” physicians typically recommend a gradual tapering. This strategy is regarded as a more effective protocol to prevent any discomfort that might be brought on by discontinuation syndrome, also known as trazadone withdrawal syndrome.

Symptoms of trazodone withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue


Is Trazodone a Benzodiazepine?

No, even though trazodone and alprazolam (Xanax), which are from different medication classes, might cause some of the same side effects, they are not the same. Trazodone is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), while alprazolam (A benzodiazepine is Xanax.

Is Trazodone Addictive to Humans?

There’s no evidence that trazodone is addictive. However, if you suddenly stop taking it, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. Sleep issues, irritability, and increased perspiration may result from this.

Is Tramadol a Controlled Substance?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ultram® package insert indicate that tramadol is a controlled substance which contains an opioid.

Is Trazodone a Muscle Relaxer

Trazodone is a drug that is associated with the unique ability to cause persistent drug-induced inhibition of genital smooth muscle contraction and persistent drug-induced enhancement of genital smooth muscle relaxation.

Is Trazodone a Scheduled Drug

Trazodone is not a controlled substance, which are a group of substances that are regulated due to the risk of abuse and risk potential. Instead, due to its hypnotic properties, trazodone is an antidepressant and is frequently used to treat insomnia.

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