Trazodone and triazolam: Acute subject-rated and performance-impairing effects in healthy volunteers

Craig R. Rush, Sudhakar Madakasira, Catherine A. Hayes, Camella A. Johnson, Nancy H. Goldman, Peggy J. Pazzaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The present study compared the acute subject-rated and performance- impairing effects of trazodone and triazolam in seven healthy humans. Trazodone (50, 100 and 200 mg), triazolam (0.125, 0.25, 0.50 mg) and placebo were administered orally in a double-blind, crossover design. Drug effects were measured approximately 30 min before drug administration and repeatedly afterwards for 6 h. Trazodone and triazolam produced dose-related increases in subject-ratings of drug effect and sedation. The absolute magnitude of trazodone's and triazolam's effects was comparable across these measures, which suggests the doses tested were equivalent on some behavioral dimension. By contrast, triazolam, but not trazodone, increased subject ratings of 'dizzy', 'excited', 'nervous', 'restless', 'stomach turning' and 'itchy skin'. Triazolam, but not trazodone, significantly impaired learning, recall and performance. The present findings suggest trazodone may be a viable alternative to benzodiazepine hypnotics like triazolam, especially when needing to minimize drug-induced impairment. Future research could extend the present findings by replicating them in a clinically relevant population such as individuals with histories of drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant DA 09841 (C.R.R.). The authors are grateful to Richard L. Ogletree Jr, Pharm.D. for preparing the medications, Catherine A. Hayes for technical assistance and the seven volunteers who agreed to participate in this experiment.


  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Performance
  • Recall
  • Trazodone
  • Triazolam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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