Insomnia in Methadone Maintenance Patients Does Not Respond to Trazodone – Research Abstract

massage sleepA recent study sought to learn if trazodone (marketed as Desyrel and Oleptro) could help recovering drug abusers sleep better. The study concluded that the trazodone did not help this population of patients.

BACKGROUND: To test whether trazodone, one of the most commonly prescribed medications for treatment of insomnia, improves subjective and/or objective sleep among methadone-maintained persons with sleep complaints, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 6-month follow-up was performed.

METHODS: From eight methadone maintenance programs in the northeastern U.S., 137 persons receiving methadone for at least 1 month who reported a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score of six or higher were recruited. Two-night home polysomnography (PSG) was completed at baseline and 1 month later, with morning surveys and urine drug toxicologies. Interviews assessed sleep over the past 30 days at baseline and 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups.

RESULTS: Participants averaged 38 years of age, were 47% male, and had a mean PSQI total score of 12.9 (±3.1). At baseline, intervention groups did not significantly differ on 10 PSG-derived objective sleep measures and 11 self-reported measures. Over 88% (n=121) of participants completed the PSG at 1-month. Without adjusting p-values for multiple comparisons, only 1 of 21 sleep measure comparisons was statistically significant (p<.05). The effect of trazodone on mean PSQI scores during the 6-month follow-up was not statistically significant (p=.10). Trazodone neither significantly increased nor decreased illicit drug use relative to placebo.

CONCLUSIONS: Trazodone did not improve subjective or objective sleep in methadone-maintained persons with sleep disturbance. Other pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments should be investigated for this population with high rates of insomnia.

The article abstract is available at:

The article was published in the January 1, 2012 issue of Alcohol and Drug Dependence.


  1. Tara A. Strickland-Clabaugh says:

    I read this article and I disagree. I have been on Methadone Maintance for the past 8 years and in just the last 4 years, I have been taking Trazadone for insomnia. I had had really bad sleep problems for quite sometime. I was put on Traxadone, and fpond that I am sleeping alot better and wake up rested and feeling well. I have been taking Trazadone for almost 4 years now, and I am not having any trouble sleeping. I plan to take this article and show it to my therapist, and tell her that I have no intentions on discontinuing my treatment.

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