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What is trazodone?

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Quick Answer

Trazodone is a type of antidepressant medication that is used to treat major depressive disorder, according to Drugs.com. It works by affecting the chemicals in the brain that cause depression and become imbalanced.

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Full Answer

Trazodone is available only by prescription, and those prescribed this medication should take it exactly as prescribed to realize its full effects and benefits. The medicine should not be broken, chewed or crushed but should be swallowed whole, notes Drugs.com. After commencing treatment, it can take up to two weeks to notice improvement in symptoms.

Trazodone is used primarily in the treatment of depression, but it also sometimes prescribed as a sedative. It won the United States Food and Drug Administration's approval in 1982 and was once marketed under the discontinued brand name of Desyrel. When used in a combination with other medications, it can be useful in treating agoraphobia, cocaine withdrawal, aggressive behavior and panic episodes or attacks, according to MedicineNet.

The exact mechanism of action that makes trazodone work is not clear, but it is thought that it inhibits serotonin uptake via the nerves in the brain, which allows stimulation of other nerves by serotonin, notes MedicineNet. It may also work by increasing the action of serotonin in the brain. However, it is not a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

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