What is Tramadol?
Prescribed to relieve moderate to severe chronic or acute pain, Tramadol, (brand name Ultram) is typically combined with acetaminophen to improve pain-eliminating qualities. Tramadol comes in immediate release and extended release forms, with immediate release tablets providing pain relief within one hour of ingestion. Peak analgesic effects occur between two to four hours following administration.
Tramadol 50mg to 100mg is the most commonly prescribed dosage, followed by 150mg, 200mg and 300mg per 24 hours. Codeine and Tramadol provide comparable analgesic results. However, Tramadol is about 10 percent as potent as morphine.
Tramadol HCL and Tramadol represent the same drug, with the slight difference being Tramadol HCL tends to be eliminated from the body faster than Tramadol.
Tramadol and Alcohol
Since Tramadol is not nearly as potent as true opioids, getting high on Tramadol requires double or triple dosages. To enhance Tramadol effects when they cannot access extra Tramadol, addicts often resort to mixing Tramadol with alcohol. Overdosing commonly occurs when combining alcohol with Tramadol because users cannot remember how many Tramadol pills they have taken.
Tramadol Side Effects
In addition to alleviating pain, Tramadol has possible side-effects.
Tramadol may cause the following:
- Blurry/double vision
- Dry mouth
- Impaired speech
- Clumsiness/uncoordinated movements
Signs of an allergic reaction to Tramadol involve hives, difficulty breathing and swallowing, swollen tongue/lips and muscle tremors. Seeking immediate emergency treatment is essential for preventing respiratory distress, seizures and possibly, coma.
Is Tramadol an Opiate?
Technically, Tramadol is not considered an opiate because none of its ingredients include poppy plant derivatives. Tramadol works to relieve pain by acting on receptor sites targeted by medicinal and illegal opioids. It also exerts antidepressant properties by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. People taking Tramadol for an extended time may suffer serotonin syndrome if they abruptly stop taking Tramadol. Sudden reduction of serotonin levels can cause severe headache, dizziness, agitation, nausea and flu-like symptoms.
Is Tramadol a Narcotic?
Since Tramadol can be addicting, it is considered by physicians to be a narcotic-like medication. In addition, Tramadol users will develop tolerance to the drug’s analgesic effects if taken as a long-term pain management solution. Consequently, Tramadol addicts need higher dosages to avoid suffering withdrawal symptoms similar to symptoms experienced by heroin or opiate pain pill addicts.
Tramadol addicts wanting to stop taking Tramadol should not try to go “cold turkey” and seek medical detoxification instead. Withdrawing from Tramadol can be as dangerous as withdrawing from opioids such as heroin or Oxycodone.
Symptoms of Tramadol withdrawal include:
- Extreme anxiety/agitation/depression
- Suicidal ideation
- Strong cravings for Tramadol
- Chills/sweating/muscle aches
- Muscle cramping
Tramadol Can Fuel Possible Street Drug Use
Without professional assistance from addiction specialists, Tramadol addicts may turn to street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl to relieve severe withdrawal symptoms.
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