What is nefazodone?

Nefazodone is an antidepressant. It is used to treat depression, including major depressive disorder.

Nefazodone is not chemically similar to other groups of antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or "SSRIs”, tricyclic antidepressants, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors or "MAOIs.”

Nefazodone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.


You should not take this medication if you are allergic to nefazodone or trazodone (Desyrel), or if you have ever had liver problems caused by taking nefazodone.

Do not take nefazodone if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • carbamazepine (Tegretol);
  • cisapride (Propulsid);
  • pimozide (Orap);
  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam); or
  • (these drugs are no longer available in the U.S.) astemizole (Hismanal) or terfenadine (Seldane).

Serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur when these medicines are taken with nefazodone. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take nefazodone. You must wait 7 days after stopping nefazodone before you can take an MAOI.

Before taking nefazodone, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease (especially cirrhosis);
  • heart disease or recent heart attack;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression);
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or
  • a history of suicidal thoughts or actions.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take nefazodone.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether nefazodone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking nefazodone.

Cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures or anxiety may add to the side effects of nefazodone. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these medicines, or any other antidepressants.

Nefazodone can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have taken too much of this medication. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, extreme drowsiness, or seizure (convulsions).

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Stop taking nefazodone and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • penis erection that is painful or lasts 4 hours or longer;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, diarrhea, constipation;
  • dizziness, drowsiness, weakness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • dry mouth, sore throat;
  • vision problems;
  • headache; or
  • increased appetite.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • buspirone (BuSpar);
  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf);
  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);
  • haloperidol (Haldol);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • propranolol (Inderal);
  • tacrolimus (Prograf);
  • triazolam (Halcion);
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);
  • cholesterol-lowering medicines such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), or lovastatin (Mevacor); or
  • any other antidepressant such as desipramine (Norpramin) or fluoxetine (Prozac).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with nefazodone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Serzone and nefazodone

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Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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