What Is Tramadol?
Tramadol is an opioid analgesic drug that is prescribed for medium to medium-high-level pain. It works by binding to the opioid receptors in your cells that send your brain messages that you’re experiencing pain and blocking these pain messages. It is commonly prescribed for chronic pain such as osteoarthritis.
Tramadol is available in immediate release and extended release tablets, extended release capsules, and in liquid form. The extended-release tablets are prescribed for around-the-clock pain, such as post-surgery.
Brand names include
- Ultracet (combination of Acetaminophen and Tramadol)
Tramadol brands that have been discontinued include
- Rybix ODT
- Ultram ER
Street names include
- Chill pills
There may also be generic alternatives.
Tramadol comes with warnings for all versions which tell patients to
- never exceed recommended dosage
- carefully measure out a liquid dose with a syringe
- do not double up or take extra medication if you miss a dose
Tramadol can cause side effects such as
- Mood swings
Like other opioid medications, taking more than the prescribed dosage can lead to overdose and death.
Combining Tramadol With Alcohol or Other Medications
There’s a long list of prescription drugs that are extremely dangerous when combined with Tramadol, even when taken as prescribed. With other medications, you may need both but your doctor will adjust the dosage for safety. Your doctor will ask you what other medications, including over-the-counter and herbal remedies you currently take before prescribing Tramadol.
Patients who drink alcohol while taking Tramadol, even when taking as prescribed, risk more serious side effects from both the alcohol and Tramadol. Alcohol and Tramadol are both central nervous system depressants. When taken together, they can suppress crucial functions like heart rate and respiration. A combination of both substances taken together in a large amount can lead to coma and death.
Is Tramadol Addictive?
While Tramadol is not nearly as strong as other opioid drugs, it is a Schedule IV narcotic with a high potential for abuse. Patients who take prescription Tramadol are warned not to discontinue use without a doctor’s supervision because abrupt cessation of use can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Patients who have been prescribed Tramadol are generally weaned off the drug by gradually reducing the dosage.
According to a 2020 report published by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “Tramadol is most commonly abused by narcotic addicts, chronic pain patients, and health professionals.” The DEA report went on to state that between 1.6 and 1.8 million people aged twelve and older abused Tramadol products annually in the U.S. in recent years.
Symptoms and Signs of Tramadol Abuse
Tramadol is far less potent than other prescription opioids. However, like other opioids, Tramadol can cause a feeling of sedation or euphoria when the recommended dosage is exceeded. This may lead the patient to take more than their prescribed dosage in order to chase that feeling.
Patients may also seek to buy more pills than prescribed for their pain condition, either by visiting multiple doctors or street dealers. Tramadol abuse can lead to addiction.
Signs of tramadol abuse include
- Dilated pupils
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Too many prescriptions/empty bottles around
- Splitting pills
- Drug seeking behaviors such as visiting multiple doctors
When people become addicted to a drug such as Tramadol, or take more than prescribed they will likely run out at some point and be unable to obtain more. This can cause them to seek to buy other, maybe stronger, opioid drugs to avoid withdrawal.
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
When someone has been taking an opioid drug for a long time the body becomes dependent on the drug. Abrupt cessation of use can lead to a dangerous condition known as withdrawal.
Symptoms of Tramadol withdrawal can include
Although extremely rare, Tramadol withdrawal causes psychosis in some people.
Because opioid withdrawal can cause acute discomfort, a person may seek to purchase more of the drug or another opioid drug to avoid withdrawal. This can lead to a serious addiction to opioids. Untreated opioid withdrawal can also cause death.
The only safe way to treat Tramadol withdrawal is medically-supervised detox. A team of experienced and caring clinical specialists can administer the right medications and treatments for withdrawal symptoms and any adverse events.
Help For Tramadol Addiction
If you suspect that you or a loved one have a problem with Tramadol we can help. We’ve helped many people connect to the right clinical support team to overcome opioid addiction. Today can be the day you take a first step down a new healthier path, free of the pain and ruin addiction causes.
Don’t wait any longer. Place a confidential phone call now to take the first step to freedom and health. We are here for you.