You may or may not be familiar with Tramadol, often sold under the brand name Ultram. In the United States, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Tramadol as a controlled substance–a fancy term meaning you can only purchase it with a doctor’s prescription.
A Little About the Drug
Normally, a doctor prescribes Tramadol for moderate to severe physical pain. The drug belongs to the opioid family and is quite effective in tricking the brain into not noticing pain so intensely.
Trick #1 for Understanding Tramadol
Remember its family of origin.
Yes, Tramadol belongs to the same group as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine, along with others, but it is not considered to be as dangerous as its highly addictive cousins. In most cases, a person may experience the following unpleasant symptoms when taking it:
- Dizziness and/or headache
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Constipation and/or digestive problems
- Sweats and/or dry mouth
Despite the relatively low addiction potential, it’s important to remember that Tramadol is an opioid and to follow your doctor’s prescription exactly. If you notice any unusual or intense side effects, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Trick #2 for Understanding Tramadol
The drug is top notch–on its own.
What it does on its own, without interacting or mixing with any other substance, is one thing. Tramadol mixed with other substances is another story.
Several drugs should never be mixed with Tramadol or Ultram. They can cause serious side-effects that might force someone into the hospital or into life-threatening situations.
- Other opioids – Under no circumstances should Tramadol be combined with other opioids without a doctor’s supervision. When doctors prescribe more than one opioid, one of the prescriptions will be at a very low dosage. Mixing opioids outside of medical oversight will create a high risk of confusion, coma, or even death.
- Antipsychotic drugs – Mixing antipsychotics with Tramadol may cause a significant decrease in blood pressure or heart rate. There are always doctors’ exceptions to these rules, but be sure your doctor knows about all of the medications you’re taking.
- Benzodiazepines and hypnotics – Benzos like alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, or lorazepam mixed with Tramadol can also cause a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. Hypnotics mixed with Tramadol may do the same.
- Lithium, Linezolid, St. John’s Wort, and headache relievers – Drugs like these, though they seem harmless, may cause something called serotonin syndrome when mixed with Tramadol. Serotonin syndrome causes nausea, vomiting, and increased heart rate and body temperature.
Trick #3 for Understanding Tramadol
It can be addictive.
According to Swiss Medical Weekly, Tramadol is relatively harmless when taken properly, and it can be effective at relieving depression, chronic pain, and acute pain. Compared to other opioids, it comes with a low chance of building tolerance and leading to addiction.
However, it can still create cravings and drug-seeking behavior in some people. These cravings can lead people to take more medication than is prescribed, to seek out prescriptions from different doctors, or to seek out stronger opioids.
Any opioid can potentially become addictive, including Tramadol. If you notice any signs of addiction in relation to your Tramadol use–or if you are using it with other drugs, St. Gregory Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more.