This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.


Evaluation of Trazodone and Quetiapine for Insomnia: An Observational Study in Psychiatric Inpatients

Shadi Doroudgar, PharmD; Tony I-Fan Chou, PharmD, BCPP; Junhua Yu, PhD, MS; Karen Trinh, MS; Jai Pal, MS; and Paul J. Perry, PhD, BCPP

Published: November 7, 2013

Article Abstract

Background: Insomnia is symptomatic of most psychiatric disorders. Non-habit-forming agents such as trazodone and quetiapine are commonly used off-label to treat patients with insomnia. The safety and efficacy of trazodone and quetiapine as medications for treatment of insomnia have never been directly contrasted. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of trazodone to quetiapine among inpatient psychiatric patients by measuring the traditional sleep parameters of total sleep time, number of nighttime awakenings, sleep efficiency, sleep latency, length of hospitalization, and patient-reported side effects.

Method: Participants were recruited from St Helena Hospital Center for Behavioral Health, Vallejo, California. Patient inclusion criteria were age 18 to 65 years, admitted between September 2011 and February 2012, and a physician order for trazodone or quetiapine for insomnia. Exclusion criteria included primary insomnia, pregnancy, concomitant order of trazodone and quetiapine, receiving trazodone or quetiapine up to 2 weeks prior to the study, and inability to coherently communicate. Subjective patient interviews and objective nursing sleep log reviews composed the data set.

Results: On average, mean total sleep time hours were longer among patients receiving trazodone versus those receiving quetiapine according to patients’ subjective reports (7.80 vs 6.75, respectively, P < .01) and the nursing sleep logs (9.13 vs 8.68, respectively, P = .04). Patients receiving trazodone experienced fewer mean nighttime awakenings versus those receiving quetiapine (0.52 vs 0.75, respectively, P = .04) according to the nursing sleep log report. Patients receiving trazodone reported more side effects of constipation, nausea, and diarrhea than patients receiving quetiapine.

Conclusions: With respect to total sleep time and nighttime awakenings, trazodone was a more effective alternative than quetiapine. However, patients receiving trazodone experienced more gastrointestinal patient-reported side effects.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2013;15(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.13m01558

Submitted: July 18, 2013; accepted August 14, 2013.

Published online: November 7, 2013.

Corresponding author: Shadi Doroudgar, PharmD, 1310 Club Dr, Vallejo, CA 94594 (

Related Articles

Volume: 15

Quick Links:


Buy this Article as a PDF