What You Need to Know About Tramadol

What You Need to Know About Tramadol

Tramadol is a strong painkiller that is only available through prescription from your doctor. The way it works is that it changes how your body responds to pain and is used to manage moderate to severe pain. The common brand names for Tramadol include Tramal and Tramal SR, Tramedo and Tramedo SR, Zydol SR, and Durotram XR.

Tramadol is taken orally and should be used only as directed in the Medication Guide and by your physician. If you missed a dose, wait until your next scheduled dose before taking the medicine. Do not take another dose to make up for the one that you missed. It may be taken with or without food but if you suffer from nausea, it may help if you eat something before taking it.

Your doctor may also prescribe other non-narcotic painkillers along with Tramadol, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You should follow your doctor’s instructions exactly to ensure that you can use Tramadol safely with these other drugs. You should also tell him about all the medicines and other wellness products you use, including herbal supplements, in order to avoid the risk of adverse reactions.

Since Tramadol is analogous to opioid analgesics, it has the potential to become habit-forming even when taken at regular doses. Thus, it should not be misused. If you have a prescription for Tramadol, you should not share it with others, particularly those with a history of addictive behavior. Reselling prescription medication or giving it away is against the law.

Tramadol should only be taken within the period prescribed by the doctor. You should not take it longer than directed to avoid possible addiction and withdrawal symptoms once the drug has been withdrawn. These symptoms may include sweating, restlessness, watery eyes, nausea, and runny nose. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms so that he can prescribe remedies. To avoid withdrawal, your doctor may gradually reduce the dosage of the Tramadol.

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Dosages of Tramadol

Tramadol is available in capsule and melt tablet form. Tablets are taken without water and dissolve in the mouth. They can also be dissolved in a half-glass of water. Generally, the regular form of Tramadol should not be taken more than four times a day, and your total dosage should not exceed that prescribed by your doctor. The maximum recommended daily dose is 400 mg but those 75 and up should not take more than 300 mg a day.

It is also available in modified release forms taken to manage prolonged pain. These are taken only once or twice a day. The letters SR and XR indicate how long the drug acts in the body. SR stands for Sustained Release and means the drug is long-acting and taken every four to eight hours. XR stands for extended-release and means the drug is very long acting and taken once every 24 hours.


Do not take Tramadol if:

• You have taken an MAO indicator in the past two weeks, such as linezolid, phenelzine, isocarboxazid or methylene blue injection.
• You have a blockage in your stomach.
• Severe breathing problems or asthma.
• You have recently used narcotic medications, sedatives, alcohol or tranquilizers.

Avoid taking Tramadol if you are pregnant, since it may cause your baby to dependent on it while in the womb. This may result in life-threatening withdrawal symptoms once it is born. It also slightly increases the risk for birth defects if taken during the first two months you are pregnant.

If you are currently taking Tramadol, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. To reduce the risk of any complications, take the lowest dose possible for the shortest time.

Avoid breastfeeding while taking Tramadol. This may result in serious health complications for the baby since the drug can pass into the breast milk. These complications include breathing problems, drowsiness and even death. If your newborn baby experiences symptoms such as persistent crying, irritability, shallow or slow breathing, diarrhea or vomiting, contact your doctor or seek medical help immediately.

Children below twelve should not take Tramadol. Tramadol under the brand name Ultram ER should not be prescribed to those below 18. It should also not be taken by patients below 18 who have recently undergone surgery to remove adenoids or tonsils.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects from taking Tramadol are relatively rare and most people who use the drug do not experience any serious complications. Your doctor has also prescribed this drug because they have judged that the benefits outweigh possible side effects. Side effects may be more prevalent in older adults, the malnourished, overweight and debilitated.

Seizures are a possible side effect of taking Tramadol. Tell your doctor if you have had a head injury in the past, a metabolic condition or a history of seizures. Your seizure risk may also be higher if you take blood pressure or heart medicine, certain antibiotics, medicines to treat AIDS or HIV and antifungal medications.

People taking Tramadol may also suffer from constipation. You can help alleviate this problem by eating a fiber-rich diet, having sufficient daily exercise or physical activity and drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated. If necessary, you can also ask your pharmacist for a laxative.

Tramadol may also increase serotonin levels in the body and cause serotonin syndrome. This is a rare but serious condition so contact your doctor and seek medical help if you experience some of the following symptoms: tremor, dilated pupils, sweating, diarrhea and high body temperature.

The drug may also make you drowsy or dizzy, so you should avoid driving or performing other activities that require mental alertness until you are sure you can do them safely. Taking Tramadol with alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers or other drugs that slow down your breathing or cause drowsiness may result in fatal side effects.

The above is not a complete list of all the side effects you may experience. If you experience any symptoms other than those included above, contact your doctor at once. You can also report any side effects of Tramadol to the Food and Drug Administration at its medwatch page or using its tool free number – 1-800-FDA-1088.