Symptoms of trazodone overdose include extreme low blood pressure, dizziness, drowsiness, sedation, difficulty sleeping, coma, seizures, headache, fast or slow heart rhythm and irregular heart beats, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, cessation of breathing, and rarely, priapism or an erection that lasts for more than four hours without any form of sexual stimulation. A person does not need to have all of these symptoms to have overdosed. Rather, overdose occurs when someone takes more medicine than is prescribed, and though an overdose, when treated and when not combined with other medications like tranquilizers, isn’t usually lethal, it represents a medical emergency. Medical help should be sought right away if someone has taken more trazodone than the prescribed amount.
Trazodone, an antidepressant, may be known by many other names including the trade names Desyrel® and Deprax®. Since the medication is usually prescribed for depression, anxiety or occasionally for sleep difficulties, there is always the possibility the first two disorders may create suicidality and a desire to overdose. Also, young adults, children, and teens are at some risk for developing suicidality as a side effect of taking this drug, and this means there is additional chance that some patients may act on their feelings and attempt a trazodone overdose. To minimize this chance, people taking this medication need the support and surveillance of others and should self-report to their doctors if they feel the medicine isn’t working. Doctors may also want to consider the wisdom of prescribing tranquilizers like benzodiazepines concurrently because a trazodone overdose that includes benzodiazepines is more likely to be fatal.
In the worst possible reactions, patients who die from trazodone overdose usually do for two or three reasons. One of these is that blood pressure can sink to alarmingly low levels and cause the organs in the body to shut down, due to lack of oxygen. Management of a trazodone overdose in hospitals generally includes blood pressure monitoring. At the same time or alternately, the heart may either beat too slowly or quickly, so heart rhythm must be carefully watched, too. Any heart rhythm disturbance is potentially lethal.
To prevent these threatening symptoms, people must seek emergency assistance as soon as an overdose is discovered. They can help emergency workers and hospital personnel by giving information about the patient/self like name, age, size/weight, medical conditions, and present symptoms. If known, it’s helpful to provide information about suspected amounts of the overdose, whether the patient regularly used the medication, and if more than one type of medication was involved. It is not advised to ask people suspected of a trazodone overdose to throw up or to give anything to eat or drink, unless advised by emergency personnel or a poison control center.