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Ultram- Help
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Ultram- Help

I was given a ultram script for severe headaches, I have atleast 5 headaches a week and it seems like I am taking the ultram everyday.  I have had some colen problems and the Doc I saw was very concerned about the ultram & he said it was just like a narcotic.  That explains why I cannot seem to stop taking it. I have a family that I love very much and it is killing me to realize that I may be an addict.  How do I stop this?  I live in a small town and my husband is a pillar of the community, I don't know if I can bring myself to attend NA or not. I do not want to continue to take it, but when I don't I feel terrible, I am almost at the point of non-functioning without it.  My body aches and my head hurts even worse, I am exhaused.  Help please, This is very scarry for me.
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
From what I've read on this forum, ultram is addictive, and even has worse withdrawal symptoms than opiates.  I have the same concerns, as I'm on day 5 of opiate (oxycontin & narco) wd's, but the pain that caused me to take those pills is still here, so I've been taking ultram.  I have a call into my doctor, and am going to talk it all over with him.  I don't even know if he realizes that ultram can have severe withdrawal effects.  If I were you, I would try another type of med for your headaches.  Are they migraines?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a migraine sufferer and I don't know much about Ultram except that I have learned through reading this forum that it is very addictive.

There are many medications out there for headaches that are non-addicting.  I take Imitrex for my headaches, it works very well for me and it is non-narcotic and very safe. There are many other medications that are similar to imitrex which also work very well.

Perhaps you could write back and give us a little more info. on your situation.  How long have you been having the headaches? Were they diagnosed as being migraine? How long have you been taking the ultram and at what daily dose?

I'm sure there are people who have been involved with this drug who will respond to you. I am currently weaning off of Fiorinal a barbituate medication commonly prescribed for migraine and very addictive.

Please stay away from that one if your doctor mentions it!!
Please keep posting

Golden Slipper
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Avatar_f_tn
If you say you have headache 5 times a week, drugs like serotonin reuptake agonists, like fova,axert,imitrex might be of help. They have also talked about being on some type of beta blocker, for preventative(which is a blood pressure type medication) but definetely consult your doc before starting anything.  DO NOT start something on your own. I don't know your history so you may have some contraindication for these meds.  There are others too you could try after these but maybe something like this could work for you.  Mind you this isn't going to help with any of the withdrawls you are or probably will experience (according to what you said) coming of the ultram.  Here'something in my drug book ultram is listed under narcotic/opiod analgesics.  So I don't see how it couldn't be addictive.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a migraine sufferer as well..I also have back problems - so I was addicted to Hydrocodone - I have been off of it for 30 days, I will say this - the worst headaches I have had in my life were during the time my body wanted more of the hydro.  Once I broke that cycle the headaches have become MUCH better.  I take maxalt for my migraines as well as zomig...there are many out there that are non-narcotic and work like a miracle...please please get something like that and stay away from the ultram.  I have not even had to take a migraine pill in over two weeks, and I was taking them like candy along with the Hydro and nothing was helping....I can certainly understand feeling like you cannot function without it - I was right there - but I will tell you once you break away from it - and get through the hurts - you will be so thankful you did....
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Avatar_n_tn
i too suffer from migraines which is how my addiction first started (percocet).  when you stop taking the meds you have what is called "rebound headaches" which can be worse than your "normal" migraines.  i read that a lot of times doctors will stop all meds and you have to just let the headaches come.  after that they come a lot less often and you can opt for another treatment.  of course this is general migraine info and not addiction related however that may be why you feel the headaches even worse when you try to come off the ultram.  i dont have any personal experience with ultram but i have used imitrex, zomaig, midrin, all to no avail.  i do know when i was working at an orthopedist's office ultram was availabe by samples.  they would hand out 10 packs of them with a script.  maybe its changed now that addictions are on the rise.  sorry i couldnt be more help with the withdrawal but like i said the headaches themselves are probably "rebounds" and the rest is your withdrawal.  good luck, it does get better with time, i swear...
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Avatar_n_tn
what cheermom said. Rebound headaches are quite common when narcs or narc-alikes such as Ultram are involved. Imitrex is your best bet. Good luck.

Thomas
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Avatar_n_tn
Well, yes headaches are my pain as well.  i am addicted to stadol, a synthetic narcotic nasal spray. They did not know it was addictive when it came out!  I've been on it for over 10 years though.  Anyway, yes the imitrex works wonders , cuz its non habit forming. Not pain killer but goes to the root of the problem.  But sometimes it doesn't help either.   So..then i need relief and to be able to sleep.  Maybe sleep it off, the head ache pain that is.  Have u tried progressive relaxation, biofeedbaack, acupunture?  There are many alternatives.  Are you aware of food truggors?  : onions, donuts, any thing with lots of yeast, msg (including seasoned salt, chinese food, etc), bananas, alcohol, cigarattes, etc.  WEll, best wishes to another migraine sufferer.  Do u also get nausea and light sensitive?
Peace to all!
Suzie
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been reading this forum for over 2 years now, mostly just spectating.  Just reading every day has helped me immensely.  October 1st I reached TWO YEARS CLEAN!  Never had one setback since I made up my mind to finally get clean and relaize that I had to accept help and "fess up" my predicament to my family and loved ones.  That's my 2 cents of advise on starting to reclaim your life.  But that's not why I'm compelled to post today.  I am also a fellow migraine sufferer, since I was a small child.  But as I've gotten older (my 30's) they had mutated into much more than just a headache, and lasting at least a week.  Then I would have 5-6 days or relief, and it would start all over again.  I went through the full gamut of traditional therapies:  Fioricet (although it never helped me, and I didn't find myself addicted, just disappointed it didn't work), taking calcium channel blockers (Inderal, Calan) everyday, of course the narcotics which only made the headache worse and last longer, and the Imitrex, Zomig, Maxalt type of medications.  The last group each helped the FIRST time I took them, and then dwindled in effectiveness.  I found myself taking them like crazy hoping it would help, only to be amazed I still had a pulse and they definitely cause rebound heaches which is why I suffered every other week.

Then one day, a caring neighbor of mine cut out an article in the newspaper (and not the Journal of Medicine type, more like the local rag) about migraine sufferes whose lives had been almost reborn by eliminating the medications, and taking Magnesium supplements every day.  I started in the middle of a bad bout.  I take 250 mg per day and it has saved my life, my sanity and my career.  I no longer have that terrible aura and sickness for days and days.  I still get a mild migraine every month (must be a hormonal thing), but I take the magnesium twice that day, and it never gets so bad that I can't work or think or worry it's not going to subside.  It almost seems to run in the background and I don't really classify it as bad becuase of how I used to suffer.  

I was skeptical at first too, but I was so desperate I was ready to drink the urine of a pregnant armadillo if I was sure it would stop the headaches!

And the best part is, you get it right from anywhere that sells vitamins, even Supermarkets, Health Food Stores, KMart and any large pharmacy/drug store.

It may or may not help, but hell, it's worth the try.  Good luck to all.

Jo in NYC
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the info.  I am at the stage where I will try anything.  I am currently weaning myself off of fioricet.  I am very addicted to it.

I have a headache almost everyday which I am treating with imitrex. Although it is non-addicting I am still very uncomfortable using this drug daily. I'm sure I am having rebound headaches.

I have an appt. coming up on Tuesday with an addictionologist who I am hoping will be able to help me through this.

I will look into your remedy and thanks again.

Golden Slipper
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks to everyone for the comments.  I will give a little more info on my situation.  I am 28,married w/ 6 children (gave birth to 3 of them,married into 3, we have custody of all 6) full time job.  STRESSFUL JOB!!! childrens ages are 2,5,7,12,13,14! Amazing, I know!!! :-) have had severe headaches for 3 years, have had to seek emergency care for headaches about 2 or 3 times per year.  I usually try to just live with it and some of the time I can, but I have formed this habit of Ultram.  It is almost a reflex, headache or no headache, I take it almost everyday without even thinking. my script is 100 mg every 4 hours as needed. I usually take 100 mg daily. If I have a really bad headache and take more than that, I get nausiated! (that's good I guess) I have seen several Doc's no answers to why or where the headaches come from, I have tried vitamins and acupuncture, chiropractors and massages.  I am freaking out that there is a reality that this is a real addiction! I had no idea it was so easy to form a prescription habit.  Is is best to wean off of it, or cold turkey?  I have to be able to function everyday, with my job and family, I cannot be incapacitated.  I have been on beta blockers, blood pressure meds-Elavil, Amitriptylin, and several others I don't even remember. I have been on Lortab, but got off of it because it was a narc. not knowing I was moving from one evil to another. I have not tried imitrex, maybe I will talk to my doc about that.  And yes I have a bad habit, I am a smoker, rare social alcohol, eat healthy, am not over weight.  
thanks again for all the help. I am so grateful I found this site!!!
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I just read your last post and know how difficult it is to live with headaches. I get clusters, which did not respond to imitrex (if they had I wouldn't be in this forum)or tricycylics (like the elavil, amitryptaline you also tried). Instead, I ended up on vicodin (just like lortab). Sure they helped my headaches, but eventually, after years of using them "responsibly", there came a time for me when I was no longer taking them for my headaches, and I ended up with 50 pill a day habit. If you are taking 1 ultram a day (I'm assuming you have the 100 mg tabs), and are taking it whether you have a headache or not, NOW IS THE TIME TO STOP. Don't wait to it become 2 then 4 then 6 a day. If you stopped them completely right now, at that dose you may likely get "rebound headaches", but it is doubtful you would have any significant physical withdrawl (withdrawal).

The best and only advice I can offer is to talk with your doctor and explore other treatments such as imitrex. Be honest about your use of the ultram, and that you feel it's a risk for you. If you need to, find a pain management doctor or neurologist who can help you find relief. You shouldn't have to suffer in pain, but you don't want go down a potential road of addiction.

Good luck.

Sundown
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Avatar_n_tn
Here is some information on Migraine headaches which I hope is helpful. Yes, Ultram does have the potential for addiction. Perhaps you could benefit from the use of a "preventative" medication.
Vascular (Migrane (migraine))  Headaches

Migraine headaches fall into three classes. "Classic" Migraine, "Common" Migraine, and Cluster headache. They are all approached similarly by most clinicians in regard to their prevention and treatment. It is however important to understand the differences amongst these three.

Migraine headaches are seen in nearly 20% of women and 8% of men in the US. These headaches are typically on ONE side of the head and are described as "pounding" and severe in intensity. The actual physiology behind what causes a migraine headache remains somewhat controversial. It is best described as "constriction" or "inflammation" of one or more blood vessels in the brain. Migraines are episodic in nature. On average they occur once a month however may be seen as often as twice weekly

The "classic" migraine is accompanied by an "aura" or warning phase. This occurs prior to the onset of the actual headache. These aura symptoms include seeing spots or flashing lights, abdominal discomfort and/or nausea, tingling sensations usually beginning in the hands or feet and migrating upwards or hypersensitivity to light, sound or odors. These aura symptoms may continue into the actual "headache" phase of a migraine.

A "common" migraine is only different than a classic migraine in that there is no aura phase. The headache begins without any of these warning signs and symptoms seen with the classic migraine.

The cluster headache has a much lower incidence (less than 1% of the population) and is more common in men.  These headaches characteristically come in bunches or clusters (1-4 times daily) over a period of 1-4 months and then go into a remission (headache-free) phase for 6 months to 2 years. The cycle then repeats. These headaches are almost always on one side of the head only, usually around the eye. The eye on the affected side  commonly becomes red and swollen.

Prevention of Vascular (Migraine) Headaches

1. Maintain a regular eating and sleeping schedule
2.  Avoid potential dietary triggers (commonly observed food triggers include aged cheese and chocolate). Caffeine should be limited as should alcohol consumption (which has been shown to be closely related to the frequency and intensity of cluster headaches)
3. Consider the use of a Beta-blocker (propranolol), a Calcium channel blocker (verapamil) or an anti-depressant. These are available by prescription only. Beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers are vasodilators which, in theory, help prevent the migraine headache by preventing the vasoconstriction seen with these types of headaches.

Treating the Vascular (migraine) headache

There are indeed multiple available treatments for migraine headache. Some patients respond to over the counter remedies such as aspirin, advil or aleve, however the majority of people will require a prescribed medication(s).
1. Ergotamine - this is a vasoconstrictor which may be administered orally, intravenously or rectally. These medications have been around for many years and remain a very effective treatment for migrane (migraine) headaches today. They are, however, much more effective if given in the aura phase of the migraine
2. Anti-emetics (reglan, compazine, phenergan) These work through relief of nausea. They are also very prone to cause drowsiness.
3.  Midrin - Also works through vasoconstriction. Traditionally reserved for migrane (migraine) sufferers whose headaches were felt to be less severe
4. Selective Serotonin Antagonist (Imitrex) this comes in injectable, tablet and nasal spray forms. It works through blocking (antagonizing) the serotonin receptors. It is felt that serotonin plays a role in the dilation of these cerebral vessels and the resultant headache which ensues. By preventing/stopping this action, Imitrex had been shown to be VERY effective in aborting migraine headaches.  The injectable form has the quickest onset and is used very commonly.
5. Narcotics - most clinicians will turn to the use of narcotic analgesics (strong pain medication) when the headaches persists or if the patient has been known to respond to this type of therapy in the past. Though clinicians prefer to stay away from narcotic use due to the addictive nature of the medication, it is the only effective treatment for many migraine sufferers and therefore is used quite frequently.


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Avatar_n_tn
My Nuerologist went the preventative route for my headaches.

He prescribed Tofranil, elavil and high doses of motrin to be taken at bedtime.  I had to stop taking that because I felt like a zombie in the morning, But it did help with the headaches.

I don't know what I have done since then, but I have not had a migraine in over four years after having them for fifteen. (well, not counting my pregnancy headaches)  Infact, I rarely get headaches at all anymore.  Unexplained mystery.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am new to this forum. I was put on Ultram for Fibromyalgia about 18 months ago and it gave me my life back. My doctor told me it was "not habit forming". I am supposed to take 2 tablets, 4 times a day, but I take 2 in the morning and one after dinner. How long would it take to get Ultram completely out of my system? I would really like to see if I still need it and I don't want to mistake withdrawal symptoms for fibromyalgia pain. How long will it take for me to be completely "normal"?? I take 3 a day and have been taking it for almost two years. Thank you for helping me ...
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