Trazodone a Slippery Slope for Alcoholics?

Recovering alcoholics not at risk of relapse taking insomnia drug

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

(RxWiki News) Recovering alcoholics especially need the sense of normalcy and continuity that comes from empowering practices and routines. This sense of stability can be damaged by the wear and tear of sleep difficulties.

And some researchers have worried that the sleep medication trazodone might damage recovering addicts' chances of staying sober.

Because a prior study had raised a question in the minds of some researchers about a possible link between trazodone (marketed under Desyrel, Oleptro) and relapse, a recent study has probed the question. No link was found between trazodone and alcohol relapse.

"Consult a therapist to craft a well-rounded recovery strategy."

Bhanu Kolla, M.B.B.S., a resident on the research leadership board of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Mayo Clinic, led the study. The study involved individuals who had recently completed a residential alcohol treatment program.

The researchers contacted and interviewed the recovering alcoholics to see whether there was a correlation between trazodone use at the time of discharge and relapse at the six-month point.

Other possibly related factors, such as sex, drug dependence and mental disorders were taken into consideration during the analysis.

A total of 283 patients were eligible for inclusion in the three-year (2005-2008) study, and 170 people responded to the researchers' follow-up inquiries.

Of these, 85 had been taking trazodone for insomnia at discharge, many of whom were either more advanced in age or had a psychiatric diagnosis.

The researchers found there was no link between trazodone use and relapse.

This study was published in the American Journal of Addiction.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 23, 2011
Last Updated:
December 27, 2011