Tramadol, which is the generic formulation of Ultram, is an opioid painkiller that is used in the management of moderate to severe pain for its analgesic effects. The pain reliever is suitable for conditions that require the drug for long term use due to its lower potential for addiction and is relatively safe to use. The drug may be used round the clock for continuous pain management, rather than on an as needed basis. Tramadol is available for use with a prescription and is listed as a schedule IV drug.
What is the working mechanism of Tramadol?
Tramadol provides pain relief by working in two different ways. Firstly, the medication binds with the opioid receptors in the brain and expands the threshold of pain experienced. Secondly, the drug acts as a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) and blocks the pain signals transmitted. The onset of effects usually occurs within an hour and last for about six hours on average.
Tramadol is commonly available as immediate release tablets in the dosing strengths of 50mg, 100mg, 150mg, 200mg, and 300mg. The drug may also be availed as extended release capsules and other forms too. It is usually made in combination with acetaminophen to amplify the pain relieving effects. The dosage prescribed is individualized according to the severity of the pain and also the user’s response to the drug. Multiple doses may be required in a day maintain the analgesic effects. Any dose modifications should be done only with the help of the doctor.
How to take Tramadol?
The use of Tramadol should be done only according to the prescription instructions. Avoid using the drug in higher doses or for longer than the prescribed course. In case of tolerance, inform the doctor for the dose modification to an effective one rather than doing it on your own. The pain med may be used with or without food, but preferably the same way every time. Swallow the pill whole orally and do not use it in any form or method other than as indicated.
There are chances of experiencing withdrawal symptoms if the Tramadol medication is stopped abruptly. Consult with the doctor and get the dose tapered before quitting.
Tramadol being a pain reliever it is not likely to easily miss the dose. In case you do, take it as soon as you remember unless it is time for the next scheduled dose. Avoid taking two doses to make up for the missed dose.
Contact the poison helpline or emergency medical services in case of Tramadol overdose. Signs of the problem include extreme drowsiness, sweating, cold skin, fainting, slowed breathing and slow heart rate.
- Avoid using Tramadol if you are allergic to it.
- The pain medication should not be used by someone with breathing issues, recently used a MAO inhibitor, or has a long history with drugs and alcohol abuse.
- Pregnant women should not take the drug as it can result in severe withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
- Do not use the drug if you are breastfeeding as it can pass through breast milk and cause a number of adverse effects in the baby.
- The drug is not to be given to any person below the age of 12.
- Do not consume alcohol or any other substances while on the drug.
Common side effects
- Stomach pain
Severe side effects
- Extreme and severe skin reactions
- Changes in the heart rate and pulse
- Menstruation problems
- Low cortisol levels
Take Tramadol by keeping in mind of possible interactions and informing the doctor of other drugs being taken, especially narcotics, drugs that alter the body’s serotonin levels, and those that slow down your breathing.
Keep the medication away moisture and heat, and also maintain track of the pills consumed to avoid misuse of the drug by others.