Hello. I have posted before about trying to quit a pain pill habit that I have had for years. I went to the doctor and he prescribed me non-narcotic pain meds- Tramadol. Are these any better? I take 2-8 a day. They don't give me the same high as HC or Vicodin, but I have heard they are still addictive. Any advice?
It is addicting
You do have ephoria
It should NOT be used by ANYONE with addiction issues.
What is the most important information I should know about tramadol?
Physical Dependence and Abuse
ULTRAM may induce psychic and physical dependence of the morphine-type (μ-opioid) (see DRUG
ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE). ULTRAM should not be used in opioid-dependent patients. ULTRAM
has been shown to reinitiate physical dependence in some patients that have been previously dependent on
other opioids. Dependence and abuse, including drug-seeking behavior and taking illicit actions to obtain
the drug, are not limited to those patients with prior history of opioid dependence
You should not take tramadol if you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Seizures (convulsions) have occurred in some people taking tramadol. You may be more likely to have a seizure while taking tramadol if you have a history of seizures or head injury, a metabolic disorder, or if you are taking certain medicines such as antidepressants, muscle relaxers, or medicine for nausea and vomiting.
Take tramadol exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take it in larger doses or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not take more than 300 milligrams of tramadol in one day.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. A tramadol overdose can be fatal. Overdose symptoms of a tramadol overdose may include drowsiness, shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, extreme weakness, cold or clammy skin, feeling light-headed, fainting, or coma. Tramadol may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Tramadol should never be given to another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it. Tramadol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Do not stop using tramadol suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, tremors, chills, hallucinations, trouble sleeping, or breathing problems. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. Do not crush the tramadol tablet. This medicine is for oral (by mouth) use only. Powder from a crushed tablet should not be inhaled or diluted with liquid and injected into the body. Using this medicine by inhalation or injection can cause life-threatening side effects, overdose, or death.
What is tramadol?
Tramadol is a narcotic-like pain reliever.
Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Tramadol extended-release is used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain when treatment is needed around the clock.
Tramadol may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking tramadol?
You should not take tramadol if you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol, if you are currently intoxicated (drunk), or if you have recently used any of the following drugs:
narcotic pain medicine;
sedatives or tranquilizers (such as Valium);
medicine for depression or anxiety;
medicine for mental illness (such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia); or
Seizures have occurred in some people taking tramadol. Your risk of a seizure may be higher if you have any of these conditions:
a history of drug or alcohol addiction;
a history of epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
a history of head injury;
a metabolic disorder; or
if you are also taking an antidepressant, muscle relaxer, or medicine for nausea and vomiting.
Talk with your doctor about your individual risk of having a seizure while taking tramadol.
Before taking tramadol, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
a stomach disorder; or
a history of depression, mental illness, or suicide attempt.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take tramadol.
FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tramadol may also cause serious or fatal side effects in a newborn if the mother uses the medication during pregnancy or labor. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Tramadol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Tramadol should not be given to a child younger than 18 years of age.
Tramadol may be habit-forming. Tell your doctor if you feel the medicine is not working as well in relieving your pain. Do not change your dose without talking to your doctor. Do not stop using tramadol suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, tremors, chills, hallucinations, trouble sleeping, or breathing problems. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. Store tramadol at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Tramadol is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription
Seizures have been reported in patients receiving tramadol within the recommended dosage range. Spontaneous post-marketing reports indicate that seizure risk is increased with doses of tramadol above the recommended range. Concomitant use of tramadol increases the seizure risk in patients taking:
•Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI antidepressants or anorectics),
•Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and other tricyclic compounds (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, promethazine, etc.), or
Administration of tramadol may enhance the seizure risk in patients taking:
•MAO inhibitors (see also WARNINGS - Use with MAO Inhibitors),
•Other drugs that reduce the seizure threshold.
Risk of convulsions may also increase in patients with epilepsy, those with a history of seizures, or in patients with a recognized risk for seizure (such as head trauma, metabolic disorders, alcohol and drug withdrawal, CNS infections). In tramadol overdose, naloxone administration may increase the risk of seizure.
•Do not prescribe ULTRAM ER for patients who are suicidal or addiction-prone.
•Prescribe ULTRAM ER with caution for patients taking tranquilizers or antidepressant drugs and patients who use alcohol in excess.
•Tell your patients not to exceed the recommended dose and to limit their intake of alcohol.
Serotonin Syndrome Risk
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with use of tramadol products, including ULTRAM ER, particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs such as SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs and triptans, with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs) and with drugs which impair metabolism of tramadol (CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors). This may occur within the recommended dose. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY-Pharmacokinetics).
Oh kween...please look up the postings in the tram area by Emilypost and anonguy... you have to learn about this insidious "non-addictive" drug. I am on day 5 of a cold turkey wd, and have used many drugs in the past.....hydro, meth, speed, alcohol.....this kicked my butt. I also went in with my dr. telling me it was not addictive, only to realize that if taken in high enough quantity I turned into SUPERWOMAN!!! with energy to burn and a false sense of well being that I LOVED.....this is my first post after spending the last 5 days in wdrawal and this forum got me through!!! I know that the imsomnia, depression, HEADACHE, diarreah, et all is part of the process of your body getting rid of the tramadol...it is poison......
I am not trying to scare you or put you into panic mode...your doctor may just not know the truth. I am an addict with an addict's brain. I knew the first time I took tramadol that it made my "high" or energetic..whatever you want to call it. I knew when I asked for a refill that my root canal pain was gone and I just liked the feel tramadol gave me. This medicine is serious as has ssri properties...talk to your doctor. How much are you taking right now?
My doctor told me the same thing, but I ended up in a psych ward one night when my prescription ran out. I didn't realize I was going through withdrawals. I thought I was going crazy! I was suicidal, having anxiety attacks, screaming, ranting, had chills (ummm...yeah, so those dumb dr.s have NO idea what they are talking about.) I was only on it for about two months. My husband took me to the ER and they gave me a high dose of some sort of mellowing drug and I was so drugged up that I allowed them to put me in the psych ward. Then they told my husband to leave me and don't come back for 24 hours. When I woke up in the middle of the night from those God-awful drugs they gave me, I went screaming crying to the nurses station asking what the heck was going on!
Thankfully I was released the next day by a psychiatrist who said I didn't even belong there. It was a year later that I started my drug-seeking behavior. I have done Trams off and on when I couldn't get my Drug Of Choice. But I NEVER let myself withdrawal from them. It has been easier to get off Hydros with tapering off Darvocet. I'm four days clean and SOOOO much happier, even though my w/d's have gotten worse today.
I would get off of those immediately. Taper down if you can. If not, ask your doc for Ativan (a longer lasting benzo) or low dose of xanax or something while you go cold turkey and tell them you don't want to be on that stuff ever again. Make it an official ending to that drug if you can! You can stop this sooner rather than later and it will be so much 'easier' now than later when your body has gotten so used to it.
some of this info was already posted by the fellow posters above, but just to give you a brief informative guide on the differences on tramadol vs. hydrocodone:
The only reason why Tramadol (Ultracet, Ultram, etc.) is not considered a narcotic is because at the moment it is unscheduled in the USA and pretty much everywhere else. It is fairly new being researched and first put on the market in the 90's. Tramadol does have unique properties making it a synthetic parial opioid whereas hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, and so on are straight up synthetic opioids, they are strong agonist of the mu opioid receptor, which is the receptor that is responsible for the euphoria, apathy, good feelings, etc. There are a few other receptors that opiois and opiates activate but generally weaker cuz they dont have the postitive abusable effects generally desired, there is the Kappa, Sigma, and the delta sites. The Mu receptor is what every one that loves opiates is after. Tramadol should be considered a narcotic and very well soon it will be added to the list of scheduled drugs. Some doctors, clinics, and treatment programs already considered tramadol a narcotic or a partial opioid just stating the facts. Its gained alot of popularity in the amount of scripts written and for minor pain, neuralgia pain, fibromyalgia, and other minor pains because it is easy for a doctor to rpescribed, there is a generic form, therefore cheap, its fairly less addictive compared to stronger opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone, and since its sometimes looked at as a non-narcotic, non-habiting, unscheduled drug so doctors or nurses are way more likely to write a script for that versus Vicodin. In reality, many medical professionals and patients are realizing that it is not all that positive of a drug. It is in fact addictive, it is a narcotic, though a very low potency narcotic, it still has many of the features that scheduled narcotic opioids have. I think alot of it has to do with its weaker affinity for the mu receptor site limiting euphoria and the pleasured effects sought after. Approximately 150mgs of Tramadol is equal to 60mgs of codeine, which as Im sure youre well aware of codeine is one of the weakest opiates out there given for minor aches and pains usually in the form of Tylenol 3's. The one thing that causes more problems and is a dangerous feature of tramadol is not accounted for is that on top of its weak opioid features it also acts as a rapidly-short acting anti-depressant working on the serotonergic systems and the norandrenergic systems, therefore if a large amount of tramadol is taken when someone is already on a SSRI anti-depressant(they work on the serotonin sites) there is the chance of the horrible Serotonin Syndrome where to much serotonin is released and could be fatal. It also lowers the seizure threshold and at high doses has caused many seizures. So in a way the rapidly acting anti-depressant features of tramadol can add to its addictiveness and to its feelings of lifting away depression.
Hydrocodone (schedule III, in bulk formulations only containing hydrocodone its schedule II) is a opioid that is a mild potency opioid, in between codeine and oxycodone. Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin, Tylox) is about 50% stronger than hydrocodone , where as hydrocodone is about 50% stronger than codeine. It is more easily addictive than Tramadol, but one thing many people, either patients or abusers have found that Tramadol helps potentiate other opiates/opioids, along with working really well with non-opiate potentiators like Orphenadrine, Hydroxyzine, Benzodiazepines, and many other anti-histamines (Benadryl, Dramamine, Chlor-Trimeton) in making the Tramadol much stronger. Sometimes, which I had used Tramadol for a couple of times, in Addicts who are trying to get off stronger opioids like Heroin or Oxycontin, they use Tramadol to help ease the severity of the wds. Overall I would stress to your doctor that since tramadol is addictive, though not as addictive as hydrocodone, it still can be very addictive to be very cautious on how long you are on it. The longer you are prescribed it and the higher the dose the more likely you will become dependent and addicted to tramadol, and the harder it will be to get off. For anyone who is actually in that situation addicted to Tramadol, do not go cold turkey because seizures are a likely possibility and the best method is to slowly taper off. With tramadol it is not necessary to go onto a medical treatment program such as Methadone or Suboxone, I dont even recommend that for hydrocodone addiction. Both of those treatment drugs are way stronger than both Tramadol and Hydrocodone by so many degrees. That would only further the addiction and switch to something way way stronger. The best bet on getting off is taper till your down to barely anything and then for the very mild wd symptoms is talk to your doctor or go to any clinic or urgent care and ask for some wd aids, such as Clonidine, one of the best opiate wd aids out there, it almost eliminates any hot/cold flashes, goosebump flesh, chills, the severe sweats, restlessness,insomnia, and many more. Also two very important wd aids that you can get OTC is a anti-nausea medicine and Immodium AD for the diarrhea and bowel problems. Alot of times for more severe wds from stronger opiates short term use of a benzo like Lorazepam (Ativan) or Diazepam (Valium) is used to aid in many of the symptoms, but with codeine adn tramadol that is generally not necessary, and seeing as youve only been on it for a little less than a month you have really no risk of addiction if you stop in the very next future, if you continue on for more than a few months than youll begin to feel the negative symptoms and a minor dependence and from their it grows by each month.
Your doctor gave you the script and told you it was okay because in the whole plethora of opioids out there, tramadol is weak, a good one to ease minor to moderate pain, since the short but rapidly acting anti-depressant feature also adds to the analgesia (pain-killing) abilities and I think he only plans for you to be on it for a short period of time, definitely not long enough to get dependent, let alone addicted. Youve only been on it three weeks, you have no negative symptoms if you stopped at this moment, which I wouldnt recommend going much longer. If you ahve pain issues discuss truly non-narcotic pain medications, there are quite a few out there and alot of them work alot better than these opioids themselves, dont have the addictive potential, and is very easy to get off. So dont worry about you being on it for 3 weeks, just talk to your doc, make sure he knows you have a past with opiates, and ahve an addictive personality, and he will most definitely switch you to something that will compensate if not work much better. Hope I was at all helpful, if you have any questions about anything let me know anytime..-Christos
I take 50mgs. Usually anywhere from 4-8 a day. I started at 2, then went quickly to 8, and now I am back down to 4 or 6. I have 1 refill left with 100 pills, nd about 5 left in the prescription I am on.
I echo the warnings others have given to you (since you asked). I took trams for six years as prescribed by my M.D. and about 3 months ago, I had enough. Withdrawal was absolute HELL. I took a week off work because there is no way a person get's any sleep when withdrawing that first 4-5 days. Hell. Indigestion, stabbing pains taht won't give you any peace. Nausia, BAD flu-like symptoms. Terrible. I hope you have stopped. It will get nothing but worse.
And it takes weeks and weeks for this drug to work out of your system entirely. Loss of focus, concentration, depression, anxiety. It's such a lovely drug (NOT).
TOLERANCE builds up over time with this drug as well, such that more and more of the drug makes you feel "less unwell". That's about the best I can describe my tram-a-train days, sometimes not unwell.
I do know that tramadol is now listed as a controlled substance in 5-6 states here in the USA. Sweden has scheduled it as well. The investigation continues.
So after reading all of your posts, it feels like I am going to go through the same things that I went through with Vicodin/Hydrocodone Withdrawals. I am really frustrated, and I want to feel the 'euphoria' that the pills give me naturally. How do we produce natural endorphins?
Ahhh, a question I'm familiar with. :) How do we produce natural endorphins. First and foremost, exercise. You may not feel like lifting a finger while going through w/ds, but even a walk around your neighborhood should be sufficient for now. Try walking or exercising when you haven't taken you pills. Compare the feel good feeling. Now, it's not like the high that pills will give you...yet. Your neurotransmitters are used to being FLOODED with those chemicals and as you get off the pills, your brain will have to adjust to making it's own feel-good chemicals again (endorphins, etc.). Endophines change into a natural substance much like morphine. To boost endorphin production, I am going to start taking DLPA, DL-phenylalanine. You can go to this website for more on it: http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com/dlpa.html
I found that site when I was trying to get rid of migraines and it provided me with MUCH more information on how to cope with my chronic pain and endorphin production. This is also a good and funny blog post about endorphins. http://www.murdershewrites.com/2009/02/12/have-you-had-your-endorphins-today/
I am also ordered L-Carnitine (breaking down fat in your muscles to use it as energy), L-Glutamine (helps heal your intestines and repair muscles), and L-Theanine (anxiety reducer, mood booster, helps you relax while staying alert). They are all natural amino acids found in your body, but by boosting their production, your body is able to fight off infection better, stabilize your moods, help with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, boost endorphin production, etc.
Some of you have said the facts already. I will add this little bit.
Tramadol is the what you give someone before going to a "Narcotic." However, it basically is a Narco. All of us will tell you that it is. It is so close to the "Narcotic Family" that the FDA, or who ever, is going to reclassify it as a Narcotic medication. If you ask that from any doctor they will agree.
The other thing is that when I wast trying not to look like a drug addict or someone who was doctor shopping, I would ask or say Tramadol was fine. Just because I new, 5 of those bad boys got me high pretty much all day without the desire of adding more to it.
I will also agree that Tramadol Withdraws might be a little worse than some of the other pain killers but I am pretty sure they are all subjective for everyone. For me, Percs were the worst for W/D because after 30 pills in a week I would be incapacitated with the Flu for 4days, without the fever, of course.
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