If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse treatment and it is not a medical emergency, call our 24/7 Tramadol Helpline at 407-680-1226.
Tramadol is a synthetic opioid medication used to treat mild to moderate pain. The drug is weaker than many other opioid pain medications, including morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Because tramadol is less potent than other opioids, it was once considered to be a less dangerous medication. However, it’s now clear that tramadol use still poses a number of risks, including addiction.
Tramadol is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it carries some risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. It is prescribed for pain severe enough to require an opioid. Although tramadol is relatively weak compared to many other opioids, it can still be dangerous, especially if you take too high of a dose.
Tramadol comes in several formulations, and it can be sold as a generic drug or under a variety of brand names. These include:
Tramadol also comes as a combination drug with acetaminophen. This combination is sold both as a generic drug and under the brand name Ultracet.
Tramadol is addictive due to its effects on the central nervous system. Tramadol activates mu opioid receptors, and the activation of these receptors leads to pain relief and potentially pleasurable effects.
Tramadol has mood-elevating properties because it increases the level of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. These feel-good effects can trigger a reward cycle in the brain, which is how addiction develops. When someone is addicted to tramadol, they continue to use it despite negative effects or consequences.
People who use the drug can also develop dependence. With dependence, the body and brain adapt to the presence of tramadol. If someone is dependent on tramadol and stops using it suddenly, they’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms.
Doctors usually prescribe the lowest possible tramadol dose for the shortest period of time to relieve pain. The recommended tramadol dose depends on the exact dosage form that was prescribed:
Tramadol comes in several different forms, including:
However, because tramadol has many different manufacturers, the drug’s appearance can vary widely.
Tramadol has many common side effects, including:
It can be dangerous to drink alcohol while on tramadol, as both substances are central nervous system depressants that slow your brain activity. As a result, they have a drug interaction that can cause increased side effects. These include:
Due to the dangers of combining these substances, the FDA has a Boxed Warning about the risks of taking tramadol while using central nervous system depressants like alcohol.
It is possible to overdose if you take too much tramadol. Unfortunately, tramadol overdose is one of the rare types of opioid overdose that is not completely reversible by naloxone (Narcan). This means that naloxone may not be able to stop someone from overdosing. For this reason, it is crucial to call 911 if you suspect someone has overdosed on tramadol.
Tramadol overdose symptoms are generally similar to those of other opioids. Unlike other opioids, however, tramadol overdose carries a risk of seizures. The risk of this side effect increases with the dose of tramadol a person takes. Other overdose symptoms for tramadol include:
Tramadol lasts for different periods of time depending on whether you are taking the short- or long-acting form of the drug:
Although tramadol’s pain-relieving effects may dissipate after a few hours, the drug can stay in your system for much longer. How long tramadol is detectable in your system depends on what is being tested:
Other factors can impact whether tramadol shows up on a drug test. These factors include:
Taking tramadol on a regular basis and suddenly stopping or significantly lowering your dose can cause withdrawal symptoms. This is because tramadol and other opioids can cause physical dependence. Being physically dependent on tramadol means your body becomes used to tramadol’s presence and adapts to the drug being in your system. For this reason, stopping tramadol abruptly means your body needs to adapt to its absence, leading to tramadol withdrawal symptoms.
Tramadol’s withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other opioids and include:
The timeline for tramadol withdrawal symptoms can depend on whether you are taking the short- or long-acting form of the drug:
Tramadol detox is the process of stopping tramadol use and allowing your body to cleanse itself of the drug. Because tramadol withdrawal symptoms can be hard to overcome on your own, it’s safest and most effective to undergo detox in a medically supervised setting. In a medical detox program, you receive around-the-clock care and support from doctors and nurses. Your team of experts will work to treat any dangerous or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that arise, ensuring you have the most comfortable detox possible.
Many different rehab options are available, and each is designed to meet different needs in treatment. Orlando Recovery Center provides a full continuum of care that includes programs like:
If you or someone you love is struggling with tramadol addiction, help is available at the Orlando Recovery Center. Contact us today to learn more about tramadol addiction treatment programs that can work well for your situation.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.