Tramadol is a prescription drug that helps relieve ongoing moderate to severe pain with low potential for abuse. It acts similarly to opioid (narcotic) analgesic, but it was not considered an opioid when it was first approved for medical use. Compared with other controlled substances, Tramadol, classified as a Schedule IV drug by the FDA, is at the safer end of the spectrum. It works directly in the brain by changing how your body feels and responds to pain.
How does Tramadol work?
Tramadol is in a class of drugs called opiate analgesic. It’s one of the many common treatments recommended by many doctors in treating osteoarthritis and other painful conditions. It was in fact included in the list of recommended drugs for osteoarthritis by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
As an opiate (narcotic) analgesic, Tramadol alters your brain and nervous system’s reaction to pain. The way it works is similar to endorphins. It binds with the receptor then decreases the pain messages that your body sends to the brain. The analgesic effect of Tramadol is observed 15 to 30 minutes after administration. The duration of effect lasts for up to 6 hours.
Tramadol is available as an extended-release tablet and immediate-release tablet. The extended-release tablet is gradually released into the body. It is used as a treatment for moderate to severe chronic pain round the clock. The immediate-release tablet is released right away into the body.
How to use Tramadol?
Doctors prescribe Tramadol to patients who need pain medication all the time. Since it’s a fairly potent drug, you need to take it exactly as how it was prescribed to you. Do not take more than what is prescribed or take differently than directed.
Take it orally. Swallow the tablet whole with plenty of water. If you are using the capsule or extended-release tablet, do not break, chew, dissolve or crush the tablet as this can cause you to receive too much dose at once. This may cause serious problems, including overdose and death.
Your dose is based on your condition and the severity of your condition. The initial starting dose is 25 mg per day. You may gradually increase your dose over several days. The typical dose for an ongoing moderate to severe pain is 50 mg to 100 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not take more than 400 mg per day as this can cause serious side effects. The maximum dose for patients older than 75 years old should not exceed 300 mg per day.
What are the side effects of Tramadol?
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:
- Difficulty breathing
- Serotonin syndrome
- Suicidal thought
Common side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy skin
Other side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
We care for your safety (Warning and Precautions)
- Tramadol is prescribed only if the non-opioid medication does not work.
- Since it’s an opioid agonist, unauthorized use and misuse can cause physical and mental dependence. This can lead to serious consequences such as addiction, overdose, and even death. To prevent this from happening, you need to take this drug exactly as directed and only as needed.
- Do not take this if you are allergic to any of its ingredients and other opioid class of drugs.
- Tramadol is not recommended for those who have seizures. Using this drug along with other medications for mental disorders and opioids can worsen the effects of the seizure.
- This drug can cause life-threatening or serious breathing problems during the first 24 to 72 hours of treatment and anytime you increase your dose. If you have asthma, COPD, and other diseases that affect the lungs and airways, your doctor won’t probably prescribe Tramadol to you.
- Do not use this in treating pain in children younger than 12 years old. It should not be used in relieving pain after tonsil surgery in children younger than 18 years old.
- Your risk of having side effects may increase if you will take this drug with alcohol or any medications that contain alcohol.
- Using this drug during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms for the baby.
- People with seizures, mental health problems, addiction problems, and stomach and kidney problems must use this drug with caution.