No Rest for the Recovering Addict

Insomnia in recovering drug addicts does not respond to trazodone

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) As drug addicts enter rehab and try to restore order to their lives, many face recurrent insomnia. Researchers recently tested a medication as a possible remedy.

A recent study sought to learn if trazodone (marketed as Desyrel and Oleptro) could help recovering drug abusers sleep better. The study concluded that the trazodone did not help this population of patients.

"Establishing an evening routine can help with sleep."

Michael Stein, M.D., professor of medicine and community health at Brown University, and his team conducted the study involving 137 participants enrolled in methadone programs.  Some of the recovering drug addicts were given trazodone and some received a placebo (sugar pill).

The researchers used interviews as well as a sleep–monitoring test called polysomnography to assess the quality of sleep. Interviews were conducted prior to the study to determine a baseline, at the one-month point, after three months, and again at six months.

Polysomnography was administered prior to the study and at the one-month point to measure physiologic functions during sleep such as brain electrical activities, respiratory effort and muscle movements.

There was very little difference in results between the control group and the group taking trazodone.

Both objective results, which were taken from the polysomnography tests, and subjective results, taken from the interviews, indicated that trazodone had not been effective at alleviating the sleep complaints of individuals on methadone.

This study was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependency.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 20, 2011
Last Updated:
December 26, 2011