Tramadol (tramadol hydrochloride) is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is typically used to relieve pain that is moderate to severe. It is sometimes given to patients following dental surgery. It is available as an immediate-release tablet, an extended-release tablet, and an oral solution. The dosage for adults is 50 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain relief.
Tramadol Side Effects
Tramadol can cause side effects in some people, even when it is taken at recommended doses for moderate to severe pain. These include:
- Stomach pain
- Serotonin syndrome
- Shallow breathing
- Slow breathing
- Allergic reaction
If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, discontinue use immediately and speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
You should not take this drug if:
- You have had an allergic reaction to Tramadol in the past
- You have seizures
- You have had a head injury
- You are addicted to any substances
- You have breathing problems
- You have a medical history that includes kidney or liver problems
- You have extreme reactions to opioid medications
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
Once someone becomes addicted to Tramadol, like with other opioid addiction, they must go through a painful withdrawal when they cease use. If you have begun experiencing withdrawal when you stop taking Tramadol, you should tell your doctor.
The most common symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, diarrhoea, sweating, shakiness and restless leg syndrome. These symptoms can usually be managed by slowly tapering off the drug under the supervision of a healthcare provider. This drug does not cause life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal.
A tapering schedule for Tramadol may look something like this:
Day 1: 400 mg
Day 2: 300 mg
Day 3: 200 mg
Day 4: 100 mg
Day 5: 50 mg
Note that if you have been taking Tramadol for a longer period of time, you should consider reducing your dose gradually by 50 mg per day. This may help with not experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
If you have attempted to stop taking this pain medicine in the past and have been unable to, you should tell your doctor or contact a rehabilitation centre.
If you are pregnant, be aware that Tramadol can cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.
Tramadol for Moderately Severe Pain
Tramadol is generally considered safe to use for moderate pain; however, there are some potential risks and side effects associated with its use. These include stomach upset, constipation, drowsiness, and dizziness. The medication may also interact with other medications, so it is important to speak to a healthcare provider before taking it.
Tramadol for Severe Pain
Tramadol may be used for extreme pain in adults, though it might not be very effective. There are other drugs that are potent that doctors prescribe for people who are in extreme pain. Tell your doctor if Tramadol is not proving effective.
Tramadol may also be used off-label for the treatment of chronic pain or other conditions such as fibromyalgia and restless legs syndrome. Tramadol should not be used for people with severe liver or kidney disease or who are taking certain other medications.
Tramadol may interact with other medications, so it is important to tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Tramadol should not be taken with alcohol or other opioids. Tramadol can be habit-forming and may lead to addiction if not taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider.
Tramadol and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
If you have COPD, this medicine may make your condition worse. You should not take Tramadol if you have COPD. Talk to your healthcare provider about other pain relief options if you have COPD.
The ideal dose of Tramadol is one that gets rid of all or the majority of your pain without getting you intoxicated. For adults, 50 to 100 mg immediate-release capsules can be taken every 4 to 6 hours, according to your pain level. The maximum dose of immediate-release Tramadol per day should be 400mg (8 x 50 mg). The maximum dose for the extended-release preparation of Tramadol should be 300mg (6 x 50 mg). This should be achieved by slowly titrating up by 100mg (2 x 50 mg) until 300 mg (6 x 50 mg) is reached.
People who are addicted to this drug often take far larger amounts of the drug and may mix the extended-release capsule and immediate-release capsules together.
You should tell your doctor if you experience any allergic reactions or other unexpected reactions from taking the drug.
Tramadol and Addiction
Tramadol is addictive. Taking this drug over a long period of time may lead to substance use disorder. The risk of developing addiction is greater in people who have mental illness or a history of trauma.
The pattern of addiction to this drug is much the same as with other prescription drugs. A user may first be prescribed the drug by a doctor. They find that the effect is pleasant and start experimenting by taking greater doses. After this, they find that their prescription has run out earlier than they intended. To get more, they go to another doctor.
This usage pattern can quickly escalate so that the addicted person is going to several doctors at once. If they are not able to get Tramadol in this way, they make seek out street drugs.
People addicted to Tramadol may seek out other pain medications in an attempt to get high or to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Once physical dependence has set in, it can be difficult to navigate back out of alone.
Taking too much of this pain medication can lead to overdose. Someone overdosing may have the following symptoms:
- Shallow breathing
- Respiratory depression
- Low blood pressure
If you or someone you love is experiencing adverse effects from taking Tramadol, you should seek emergency medical help. Do not delay getting medical help; the risks of overdosing from Tramadol are real.
There is an increased risk of overdosing from Tramadol if you are taking more significant amounts of Tramadol than were prescribed, you are combining Tramadol with alcohol or other drugs, or have existing health problems.
You should always check the label of medications you are taking to ensure that you are safe from possible drug interactions.
Taking Tramadol With Other Substances
Tramadol should absolutely not be taken with other prescription drugs, including opioid medicines. You should also not drink alcohol while you are taking this medicine, as this can result in life-threatening effects.
One of the most dangerous combinations is Tramadol and Xanax. Xanax is a sedative that slows down the central nervous system and can make Tramadol even more potent. This combination can cause drowsiness, respiratory depression, and coma.
Alcohol is another substance that should be avoided when taking Tramadol. Alcohol can increase the side effects of Tramadol and cause breathing problems. It can also lead to an increased risk of opioid overdose.
Cocaine is another dangerous drug to mix with Tramadol. Cocaine speeds up the nervous system and can make Tramadol even more potent. This combination can lead to heart attack, stroke, and death.
Treatment for Tramadol Addiction
If you are addicted to this drug, you may be feeling despair. You might feel like there is no one you can turn to. You may have already attempted to stop taking it but found that the withdrawal was too painful or that you relapsed after a short period of time.
Fortunately, help is available.
Treatment centres across the UK can help you with your addiction. They can support you through the withdrawal process, help you to understand why you were taking the substance, address any mental health problems you may have, and prepare you for a life without this drug.
Treatment centres can also recommend alternative ways of managing ongoing pain that does not involve opioid drugs. They may suggest:
- Non-opioid analgesics. There are many muscle relaxant painkillers that are effective in relieving moderate, mild and severe pain and are not addictive. You can try these under the guidance of healthcare professionals to see which one best suits you.
- Mindfulness. Practising yoga and meditation can help immensely for people suffering from chronic pain.
When used as directed, Tramadol is usually effective at reducing pain. If you have severe pain, ask your doctor about other drugs that may be more effective in treating pain.
People with addictive tendencies should not use this medication unless absolutely necessary, as the risks of becoming addicted to this controlled substance are high. Once someone is addicted, they must go through a period of withdrawal when they cease use.
Taking too much of this medication can cause death by overdose. If you suspect you or someone else is overdosing on this drug, you should seek emergency medical assistance. The drug can also cause damage to the brain and body when it is taken in large doses for an extended period of time.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Tramadol addiction, contact The Revoke Programme. A healthcare professional is waiting for your call now.