Differential dosing of trazodone in elderly depressed patients: a study to investigate optimal dosing

J Int Med Res. 1986;14(5):279-84. doi: 10.1177/030006058601400509.


We investigated the comparative efficacy and tolerance of two initial starting doses of trazodone in 20 elderly inpatients suffering from depressive illness. The first 2-week phase was double-blind. Patients received either 25 mg trazodone tds or 50 mg tds. After this time the study was open, the dose of trazodone being titrated from the initial starting dose to maximise efficacy and tolerance. Patients received study medication for a total of 6 weeks. Assessments for efficacy included the Hamilton Depression rating scale, Zung anxiety scale, visual analogue scales for depression, euphoria and tension, and global assessments of severity and improvement of condition. Tolerance was assessed by means of a checklist of symptoms and adverse effects. Assessments were performed at base line and at weekly or bi-weekly intervals thereafter. A total of 18 patients were included in the analysis. The Zung and visual analogue scales indicated significant superiority for the high-dose group at Week 2. The Hamilton ratings indicated significant superiority for the high-dose group at Week 6 with a strong trend in favour of the high dose group at Week 2. Measures of severity of illness and improvement indicated more rapid improvement over time in the high-dose group. The treatment was generally well tolerated and at no time did adverse events outweigh therapeutic benefit. The incidence of headache and nausea was more frequent in the high-dose group in the first 2 weeks. The group of elderly patients studied benefited from trazodone therapy initiated at a higher therapeutic dose. This dose (150 mg total daily) was well tolerated and proved effective over the course of 6 weeks' treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Trazodone / administration & dosage*
  • Trazodone / therapeutic use


  • Trazodone