Dementia: Trazodone – No Thanks!



Image result for No thanks PictureIt would be tempting to start Maureen on Trazodone after the events in the early hours  This medication has been  prescribed by a Specialist Doctor who has assessed Maureen and knows what lies ahead:

  • Maureen waking in the early hours not knowing who I am and accusing me of keeping her here against her will so I can have my wicked way with her.
  • An hour or two later she waking again wanting to go home but cannot find any clothes to wear.
  •  Having accidents after using the toilet and ending up in wet clothing.
  • Letting me have it with both barrels until she runs out of steam and falls asleep

I have been advised that putting Maureen on Trazodone will ‘make my life easier’ or ‘to let the Services do their job’  – an inference that there is no other way than to open the bottle.

What stops me from giving Maureen the fix is that from my perspective Trazodone is a one way street to a chemical cosh.  In no way is that a criticism of the Services that are trying to support us: it is a rejection of a medical model for dealing with dementia that is far from person-centered.

Maureen is sensitive to most medication: one tablet of citalopram put her in hospital.  The only blood pressure tablet she tolerates is lisinopril: she has had adverse reactions to any others that have been tried.  The passage below is almost a Black Box warning for someone with dementia:

‘Common side effects of trazodone include:

  • Headache.
  • Muscle ache.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or stomachache.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Loss of interest in sex (erectile dysfunction in men)
  • Dizziness or loss of balance.
  • Dry mouth or dry eyes.
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling sensations.


Subjecting Maureen to Trazodone covertly is something she would not tolerate in any shape or form.  Therefore, there has to be another way to deal with this aspect of her current presentation.  She had a ‘Sofa Day’ yesterday: that is really something to focus upon!

No medication will quieten things down when plumbers arrive in number around 8.30. They will be making a lot of noise as they begin to create our new shower room. I’m not sure how I’m going to hold the fort until Maureen’s brother and his wife arrive mid morning.  Perhaps, the ensuing racket will persuade to get off the sofa and she will sleep like a newly born baby tonight!


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