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How safe are sedating antidepressants for people with dementia?

Sarah N. Mourra, MD
Neurology
Oftentimes, doctors will use sedating antidepressants for sleep issues in people with dementia. A very common one is trazodone (Desyrel). This medication came out in the 1980s as an antidepressant but was so sedating that it was found to be better as a sleep medication. The side effects, like any medication used for sleep, include oversedation, confusion and falls, but it tends to be less of an offender than the benzodiazepine class of medications.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.