Updated: 24 February 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon
All medications, narcotics, and illegal substances are regulated through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which determines the drug's potential for abuse and its medical properties. Read on to find out if trazodone is regulated under the CSA and what the implications of its regulation status are.
While studies into the abuse potential of trazodone are limited there doesn’t seem to be any risk of abuse.
Though the prescribed dose of trazodone is often lower when used to treat insomnia instead of depression, there is little research into how people who take the drug react to it and whether they may become dependent.
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Trazodone controlled substance status
The DEA does not recognize trazodone as a controlled substance as studies have shown that there is little evidence of the drug being abused, nor being dependent or addiction-forming. While studies into the abuse potential of trazodone are limited there doesn’t seem to be any potential for abuse.
What is a controlled substance?
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies medications, illegal drugs, and narcotics under the Controlled Substances Act as a way of regulating a substance's potential for harm and abuse versus its medical validity.
There are five different classifications, known as Schedules, under the controlled substances act. Schedule I drugs have no medical value and a high potential for abuse and dependence. These drugs include illegal substances such as heroin, meth, and crack. Schedules II through V represents a gradual decline in a substance's potential for abuse and an increase in its medical value, though the two aren’t directly correlated. Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and if it is unclassified then it is deemed to hold no addictive properties.
Research into trazodone abuse potential
Like most forms of antidepressants, clinical trials of trazodone for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders have not shown any drug-seeking or other addictive behaviors. However, further research into the drugs abuse potential is still lacking.
For example, trazodone is occasionally used outside of treatment for mental health disorders, such as when it is prescribed off-label for conditions such as insomnia. Though the prescribed dose of trazodone is often lower when used to treat insomnia over depression, there is little research into how people who take the drug react to it and whether they may become dependent.