Trazodone (brand name Oleptro, Desyrel, etc) is a serotonin uptake inhibitor that is used as an antidepressive agent. Trazodone binds to the 5-HT2 receptor, it acts as a serotonin agonist at high doses and a serotonin antagonist at low doses. Like fluoxetine, trazodone's antidepressant activity likely results from blockage of serotonin reuptake by inhibiting serotonin reuptake pump at the presynaptic neuronal membrane. If used for long time periods, postsynaptic neuronal receptor binding sites may also be affected. The sedative effect of trazodone is likely the result of alpha-adrenergic blocking action and modest histamine blockade at the H1 receptor. It weakly blocks presynaptic alpha2-adrenergic receptors and strongly inhibits postsynaptic alpha1 receptors. Trazodone does not affect the reuptake of norepinephrine or dopamine within the CNS. Because of its lack of anticholinergic side effects, trazodone is especially useful in situations in which antimuscarinic effects are particularly problematic (e.g., in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, closed-angle glaucoma, or severe constipation). Trazodone's propensity to cause sedation is a dual-edged sword. For many patients, the relief from agitation, anxiety, and insomnia can be rapid; for other patients, including those individuals with considerable psychomotor retardation and feelings of low energy, therapeutic doses of trazodone may not be tolerable because of sedation. Trazodone elicits orthostatic hypotension in some patients, probably as a consequence of α1-adrenergic receptor blockade. Mania has been observed in association with trazodone treatment, including in patients with bipolar disorder, as well as in patients with previous diagnoses of major depression. Compared to the reversible MAOI antidepressant drug moclobemide, significantly more impairment of vigilance occurs with trazodone. NCATS
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