Tramadol is a medicine, sold under the brand name Ultram among others, that is used for pain that is moderate to severe. When taken orally in an immediate-release formulation, the onset of pain relief usually occurs within an hour.

Tramadol – What is it

Tramadol was launched and marketed as “Tramal” by the German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH in 1977 in West Germany, and 20 years later it was launched in the UK, USA and Australia. It is marketed under many brand names around the world.

This medication is used to help relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol is similar to opioid (narcotic) pain relievers.

Tramadol – Usos

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed to relieve pain. You can take this medicine with or without food. If you are nauseated, it may help to take this medicine with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).

Tramadol – Dosage 

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce the risk of side effects, your doctor may tell you to start taking this medicine at a low dose and gradually increase the dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. The maximum that can be consumed is 400 mg per day. If you are over 75 years old, the maximum recommended dose is 300 milligrams per day. Do not increase your dose, take the medicine more often, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Stop the medicine properly when directed.

Pain medications work best if used when the first signs of pain appear. If you wait until the pain gets worse, the medicine may not work as well.

If you have ongoing pain (such as from arthritis), your doctor may direct you to take long-acting opioid medications. In that case, this drug can be used for sudden (advanced) pain only when needed. Other pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed.

Withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, watery eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating) may occur if this medicine is stopped suddenly. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

When this medicine is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk to your doctor if this medicine stops working well. Although it helps many people, this drug can sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as drug / alcohol abuse or addiction).

Tramadol – Side Effects

Common side effects include: constipation, itching, and nausea. Serious side effects can include seizures, increased risk of serotonin syndrome, decreased alertness, and drug addiction. A change in dosage may be recommended in people with kidney or liver problems. It is not recommended in those who are at risk for suicide. Although it is not recommended in women who are breastfeeding, those taking a single dose generally should not stop breastfeeding.

It works by binding to the μ-opioid receptor and by acting as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Tramadol is in the benzenoid class. In the body, it is converted to desmetramadol, which is a more powerful opioid.

May cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or headache. Some of these side effects may lessen after you have been using this medicine for a while. If any of these effects persist or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

To prevent constipation, eat an adequate fiber diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Watch for mental / mood changes (such as agitation, hallucinations), severe stomach / abdominal pain, trouble urinating, signs that your adrenal glands are not working well (such as loss of appetite). , unusual tiredness, weight loss).

Watch for a fast / irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting, seizures. This drug can increase serotonin and rarely causes a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome / toxicity.

Tramadol turns into a strong opioid medicine in your body. In some people, this change occurs more quickly and completely than usual, increasing the risk of very serious side effects. Get medical attention immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms: slow / shallow breathing, drowsiness / difficulty waking up, confusion.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical attention immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms: rash, itching / swelling (especially of the face / tongue / throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Tramadol – Precautions

It may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Consult your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: brain disorders (such as head injuries, tumors, seizures), breathing problems (such as asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ), kidney disease, liver disease, mental / mood disorders (such as confusion, depression, suicidal thoughts), personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as drug / alcohol abuse or addiction), or stomach / intestinal problems ( such as obstruction, constipation, diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus).

This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you dizzy or sleepy. Don’t drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.

QT prolongation can rarely cause severe (rarely fatal) rapid / irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that require immediate medical attention.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, and herbal products).

Some children may be more sensitive to very serious side effects of tramadol, such as extreme drowsiness, confusion, or slow / shallow / noisy breathing. (See also Warning section).

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, slow / shallow breathing, and QT interval prolongation (see above).

During pregnancy, this drug should be used only when clearly needed. It could harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. (See also Warning section).

This medicine passes into breast milk and may have unwanted effects on a nursing infant, such as unusual drowsiness, trouble eating, or trouble breathing. Breastfeeding is not recommended while using this medication. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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