Trazodone is only slightly faster than fluoxetine in relieving insomnia in adolescents with depressive disorders

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 1997 Summer;7(2):97-107. doi: 10.1089/cap.1997.7.97.


This retrospective chart review examined the relative effectiveness of fluoxetine and trazodone in relieving insomnia associated with depressive disorders in adolescents (aged 13-17 years). We reviewed the hospital charts of consecutively admitted adolescents with a depressive disorder and insomnia, who received one of three treatments: fluoxetine (20 +/- 2.2 mg), trazodone (71 +/- 32 mg), or a fluoxetine-trazodone combination (fluoxetine 29 +/- 2.2 mg, trazodone 68 +/- 29 mg). Each treatment was examined in 20 patients. Insomnia was defined as a change in sleep patterns characterized by decreased total sleep time that was sufficient to cause clinical concern, and insomnia resolution was defined as sleep starting by midnight and lasting 6 hours. Mean time to resolution of insomnia was significantly faster in adolescents treated with trazodone rather than fluoxetine (2.5 vs. 5.1 days, p < 0.05). Trazodone seemed to save only about 3 days and insomnia resolved in all subjects by the 11th day of antidepressant treatment. Median time to insomnia resolution was 2 days (range 1-5 days) in the trazodone group and 4 days (range 1-11 days) in the fluoxetine group. This difference between trazodone and fluoxetine, although statistically significant, was generally not clinically significant in the management of insomnia associated with depressive disorders in adolescents. The resolution of insomnia was not faster for treatment with a combination of fluoxetine and trazodone in comparison to fluoxetine monotherapy. Insomnia resolution was slightly later in older children. These clinical findings await confirmation by a controlled study. Both drugs seemed effective in ameliorating sleep symptoms in this sample, although it is likely that they produced these changes by different mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Time Factors
  • Trazodone / therapeutic use*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Trazodone