can I take Tramadol to relieve Vicodin withdrawal?
I have chronic neck pain from a disk protrusion in my neck - I was in a car accident over a year ago and it's so overwhelming I can barely stand it. Technically, yes, I have abused my vicodin prescription - I take about 6 or 7 5/350's and I'm about to run out - 9 days before my refill is due. I can't ask for another early refill - my doctor is going to flip out if I do. I've tried the slow release oxycodone but it makes me too tired and I absolutely prefer vicodin. Like so many other people I've read on other posts, it just makes me feel normal. I don't feel "high" - it just offers pain relief (not completely but enough so that I can function) and I honestly don't know how I am going to deal without it. This would be a sudden drop in my dosage and I've tapered and tried days off in the past - just to get a grasp of where pain levels are because I know that taking these meds over such a long period of time can affect your perception of pain.
So I have an old prescription of 50mg of Tramadol that I just phoned in a refill for in the hopes that if I have it to use over the next 9 days that it will help me get through the withdrawal issues I know I will have. I just took on a very high stress job that requires a ton of me - this is my first full time job in almost 8 years (I was a stay at home mom all that time) but I'm also getting divorced and I need to be on top of my game 24/7 - I don't have time to withdraw off of my pain meds right now and frankly I'm scared.
I'm desperately hoping that someone out there has been able to relieve vicodin withdrawal by using Tramadol. I've read all about both drugs and know their similarities - I just don't know if starting the tramadol will help me get through this next week so that I can do my job and everything else that's required of me in my stressful life. I also have to have something to relieve the pain because it's just awful. I take gabapentin for the nerve pain but even it's starting to not work - I'm in pain, I'm overwhelmed by life and I'm just terrified of not being able to make it through the next 9 days because of pain and the depression that always accompanies my vicodin withdrawal.
Any help would be hugely appreciated. I fully admit that I am physically and obviously psychologically addicted to my pain meds but I'm in serious pain so i refuse to judge myself. I'm doing the best I can.
Thank you to anyone who can offer advice. There's no possibility of an early refill and I feel like Tramadol is my only hope. I'm so hoping someone will say that it will work. :)
These are questions you should be asking your doctor. This is an addiction forum and we are all in different stages of recovery and it is not for us to tell you if taking tramadol will help. Good luck........sara
I'm sorry - I thought this was a place where I could get help dealing with withdrawal. If I've crossed a line, I apologize. I didn't mean to cause harm. I was looking for a place where I could be honest and not be judged. So many forums out there just place blame on folks like me and I thought that maybe someone who'd gone through withdrawal in the past might have advice.
Again, I meant no harm. Just looking for a safe place to air my fears.
This is a safe place........are you asking if you take the tramadol to get you thru the 9 days until you get the vicodin refilled?? Just making sure i understand you so you dont get the wrong idea about this place.......
Well, the question is 2 fold. Yes, I can get a refill in 9 days but I'm trying to taper off of the meds entirely. I'm overwhelmed by pain but I can't bear the thought of needing vicodin any longer. So I'm asking if it will help me get off the meds - not just until I can get my fix in 9 days - it probably sounded this way. I don't want to keep taking 6 to 7 pills a day! And honestly, rehab is not an option. I'm getting a divorce, I just started a great job that will actually allow me to support my 2 kids and myself (which is a miracle in this economy) so I'm looking for ways to get through 9 days yes, but I'm also wondering if tramadol is a helpful way to taper or if I'm just trading one addictive med for another.
I very well may have missed the point of this site but I'd like to stick around. I need help. I'm addicted to vicodin and I have to stop but I honestly can't do anything other than taper - a slow coming off of this is what I need.
Again, I mean no harm in asking my question and if I'm off base here - just let me know. If you have any other advice for tapering, I'll take that too! I have to get this under control and I'm weary.
If this thread is out of line - then we can stop it - my intention was never to ask the wrong questions. I just need help. And I'm not sure what to do. I'm scared so much of the withdrawal that's bound to come.
Thank you for asking for clarification. I knew I wouldn't be judged.
No this thread is not out of line at all.....You have explained what you are wanting to do now. You wont be judged.......you will have support. I went ct off vicoprofen so i cant help you with a taper plan but there will be more on in the morning that have more info on tramadol.......keep checking back here........sara
Thank you! This gives me hope! I've searched all over for a board like this and so many out there can say mean things. I never wanted to be where I am - I just wanted relief from pain. And I'm scared because I'm still in insane pain. But if I don't keep tapering (the fact that I got down to 6 or 7 is awesome because I was over 10 on some days), I'll never be able to do this. And I have to do this because I know that if I don't, the medicine will only continue to tighten its grip on me - it will keep taking more and more to get pain relief and I don't want that. I didn't get here over night so it will take some time but I want to keep moving forward.
Your kindness means a ton to me Sara - I don't know you but when I feel so lonely, your compassion and understanding mean more than you know.
I don't know what is right for you all I can do is share my experience. I used tramadol to help me get off of loritab four years ago and I am still trying to get off of tramadol. I planned to quit cold turkey on Monday when many people here advised me to taper because tramadol is more dangerous to get off of. So Monday my taper plan begins. I find withdrawels from tram much harder. I have only had to withdraw a couple of days here and there on both. Just don't rush into that. There are a lot of great people here that know more than me. They will help you. Goodluck.
Thank you - I've read that alot - that tramadol is harder to get off of than vicodin. It's so weird to me that my doctor prescribed it in the first place as a better alternative. My hope is to only take it for a little while then get back on track tapering off of the vicodin. I've been all over the map with norco, vicodin, oxycodone - it's exhausting just to look back on all the time I've fought to manage the pain while struggling to keep it under control. I know that I started abusing the meds when they relieved more than the pain and now I've lost the good feelings (I'd have to take way more to get that) and now I'm just trying to function while tapering. If the tramadol can help - that would be awesome but like I said, I don't want to trade one demon for another.
I appreciate your input. I understand why they call it a monkey on your back - it's a burden to carry with you - the fear of when I'm going to run out, how in the heck to manage the pain and how not to continue this never-ending cycle.
Good luck to you! I can't imagine quitting cold turkey - you're brave! But if you decide it's too much and you need to taper - that's not being a quitter! You know that you have to do what works for you. I'll be looking around this site for more information. I can't say how happy I am to have found it. I'm just starting to face my issues and call it what it is - addicion. I feel better already just being connected to a community of folks struggling with the same issues.
Maybe you should talk to tour Dr. tell him/her your concerns, and talk to your Dr honestly dont hold back with your Dr, your Dr can write you some comfort meds to help with w/d and 7 vic a day to some is alot and to others is light we are all diff. My experiene with that much vic and c/t you will have bout 5 to 7 days of w/d with it starting to ease up after day four. I have used a diff drug to detox from another put it is risky. Good Luck
As you seem determined to get off the pain meds altogether, I wonder if you have tried other therapies such as chiropractic or acupuncture. I have used both of these, sometimes with good results, sometimes not, but at least they never made it worse.
i was gonna chime in..as like jonanbrandi stated..some end up hooked on the tramadol as it is similar to narcotics and it is addicting...it affects the same receptors as narcotics...so yes it would help wds..but in reality u r taking a risk of addiction to the trams...but when people take sub they do the same thing but it is more socially justified in a way..but sub is way stronger than tram or the narcotic u r on...so if i had to choose..and i mean had to choose...i would use the trams....it would be better to taper off or ct the pills u r on and ask ur dr for help....and if u do not clue ur dr in then ur chances of succes r very low..cos chances r, u will get that refill if it is there...a quit with a fellow nurse friend..she used tram for wd from hydro and i did a quick taper and quit....that was over a yr ago and she is severely addicted to trams to this day..scary but true..be safe and make a plan..lots of support here..but u do need to decide what u wanna do...cos this stuff about running outa pills gets real olf..been there done that...and if u r running out it usually means u r not taking them as prescribed..which often means u r an addict....and it only gets worse with time
I don't know the answer to your question about tapering with Trams, but I wanted to let you know what happened to me when I took Tram. I was heavily addicted to Norco, taking anywhere between 40 and 60 a day! I ran out and had some Tram, so I took 2 and about an hour later I wasn't feeling anything, so I took 2 more. I was at work and on the phone with my mom. The next thing I know, I'm picking myself up off the floor, my chair was turned upside down and I had a nasty knot on my head. I could hear my mom screaming into the phone so I picked it back up and had no idea where I was, or what was going on. She said I started talking really weird and slurring and then she heard some loud noises in the background. About an hour later it was time for me to go home. I don't remember the drive home AT ALL. That was the last time I touched Tram needless to say!
On the other hand, some people don't get addicted to tram ... it's completely different from oxys, vikes, etc. If it's a short run, it might be okay, but there's a long-shot seizure risk, moreso if you combine them.
I got some (not that much, but it helped) relief from codeine -- a real opiate, but pretty weak compared to ... I was taking T-3's for about 3-4 days.
Check out the Tramadol site -- it's a strange drug, as far as its binding to one opioid receptor. Might work, and it sounds like your doctor won't be too happy if you run it by him.
I am no doctor, but you should talk to your doc about the vicodin situation. Most doctors will understand that your medication is not working or that your tolerance has increased and you are requiring more to get relief. You don't want to lie to your doc, nor do you want to take more of your medication than is prescribed. I know pain oh so well myself, as well as the addiction to the pain medications to treat it. The biggest risk in taking more medication than is prescribed is ( in your case ) the amount of Tylenol (APAP/Acetaminophen) you are ingesting. The stuff is horrible for your liver and kidneys. My mom was a dialysis nurse and I grew up watching people who had been on these meds end up in kidney failure and dying. Most of us on here have done it, and many of us are very, very fortunate that we haven't had issues with this so far, but it is a real possiblity. Your doc might talk to you about a different medication with less Tylenol that can help you more. As far as the Tramadol, most people don't understand that although it acts on your opiate receptors the same way as Vicodin, or any opiate does, it is a partial antagonist/agonist. This is the reason many doctors prefer it in place of Vicodin or other agonists. Most opiate medications are full-agonists. They bind strongly to receptors and therefore provide pain relief and a side-effect of euphoria. An antagonist (like Narcan, the medication they give someone who is overdosing on an opiate) throws all of the agonists off of the receptors, which reverses the action of the opiates and puts them into immediate withdrawal...which when they are overdosing saves their lives, although it is extremely uncomfortable. Tramadol, being a partial antagonist/agonist, binds to the receptors and provides pain relief (agonist effect), BUT it works in a strange way. If you take more of it than you are supposed to, not only will it not work better, but it actually works in reverse...throwing the agonists off of the receptors and blocking the medication from working (antagonist effect). It's a two-fold medication and most doctors feel safer prescribing it because you cannot abuse it the same way you can any other opiate pain medication. Taking too much of it actually can cause seizures. You won't get high. Like many people on here have said, and I have found to be true, is that it has it's own addiction which many people find worse, but it isn't usually something that develops in a very short amount of time (a week). All that said, I have taken it when I have been out of my Percocet and it helped with my pain and I did not have any withdrawal symptoms like I would have had I not taken anything, but that is only my experience. I always go right back to my Percocet, which works best for me, and haven't had any issues. Reading online, I have actually found that there is a such thing as "Tramadol Detox" where they give you Tramadol to get you off of opiates and then wean you off of the Tramadol, which is supposed to be easier to taper off of than high doses of Vicodin. But, people have said on here that they found it to be harder to come off of the Tram. If I were you, I'd talk to my doctor honestly about what's going on and explain that you don't want to be taking that much and you want to come off of them. He/she will be able to give you the best method of both relieving your pain and detoxing from your medication. Ask about pain management. They are doing some amazing things now that you don't even need to take medication anymore....just go in for a procedure and they put non-opiate medication in your spine and numbs it completely. Good luck and sorry for the long post! Hope it helps!
Tramadol is a WEAK AGONIST, of the mu opiate receptor. It's a synthetic analogue of codeine. This means that tramadol itself & one of its major metabolites, (substance that tramadol breaks down into), have a lower affinity for the opiate receptor than codeine or stronger opiates. Tramadol's analgesic qualities are strengthened by its ability to block the reuptake of serotonin & norepinephrine.
Being a weak agonist does not mean that you can't get high, (although it's less likely than with complete mu receptor agonists), this depends on individual biochemistry & you will easily find posts from people who use tramadol for a recreational high.
Even if you don't get high, tramadol has enough opioid strength to cause significant withdrawal syndrome which is complicated by the withdrawal effects of the antidepressant components of tramadol. There is also the physical tolerance syndrome common to opiates, which means that you find you need to take increasing doses just to maintain a base level of functionality.
Of course, everyone's biochemistry is subtly different & it appears that some people are able to tolerate tramadol without problems. However, there are also reports from people who have been on tramadol/ultracet for very short periods of time, (e.g 1 week), who have suffered major withdrawals on discontinuation.
If I were you, I would tell your doctor that you want to taper off the vicodin & ask him for a new script to enable you to do this. If you really want to avoid further opiate dependence, there is a real risk that tramadol will just complicate the process.
Thank you to all of you - you've given me a ton to consider! I'm very open with my doctor about my use. He's awesome - he's avialable via email & phone. My reason for not wanting to request yet another refill is really for him - I don't want him red flagged by the insurance companies since they don't care about the pain - they just see a bunch of vicodine flying out the window. I'm worried about muddying the waters with Tramadol use for an extended period of time. I did ask my doctor about it but he's so busy with a new baby - I think he missed that question in my email so I just went straigh to my pharmacist who is also aware of my situation and she rocks! The way I see it for now - I need to get through the next week with just a little vicodin and the tramadol to help with the withdrawal side effects. It's a very low dose of Tramadol so my pharmacist let me know that it would only help a little and I'm ok with that. As much as I dread the pain - which is through the roof - I feel just as bad as I felt after the car accident - I think taking some time off to stop masking the pain so much, might help me get in touch with exactly how much pain I'm in so that I know what route to take for a chronic condition.
And also, my doctor is an ND so my treatment all year has been weekly adjustments, physical therapy and injections of a sort of natural numbing concoction like when you go to the dentist and those kept it under control somewhat. I do mechanical traction on a regular basis so I am treating my pain with more than just meds. I'm also a certified Pilates instructor so I'm very well aware of proper alignment and how my shoulder placement affects my pain. What's made this just go through the roof again, are the major life changes: new job where I'm typing all day and sitting at a desk (I didn't type for months after my accident because the disk protrusion is on the right side and I'm right handed and typing kills me). I'm also commuting an hour both ways and driving always makes the pain worse.
And of course, with the new hours I'm keeping, I haven't seen my doctor or my physical therapist for treatment in almost 3 months. That's just like the cherry on top.
I've asked my doctor to see me after hours so that we can deal with this head-on. I simply cannot function with this pain but I don't want to destroy my liver and I know that my body is building up a tolerance to the meds and that's why the amount it takes to get even the slightest pain relief requires more meds. I'm definitely taking more than I'm supposed to and my doc knows this - I'm not trying to hide it from him. I feel like I'm trying to protect him from insurance companies and myself from reaching a toxic level of meds in my system.
So for now, I've decided to wean off the meds and try this low dose of tramadol for the withdrawal. When my new refill comes around, I'm going to try to work out a plan that I had over the summer where my doc holds my meds for me and just gives me a week's dose at a time. If I can get back down to a reasonably safe level, then maybe they'll work again - I don't know. I just have to try something.
The last thing I want is trading one addiction for another. And I'm not looking to get high although the serotonin aspect of tramadol is appealing for the extreme depression - I was crying like a child when I talked to my pharmacist today - I'm 37 and crying in public! :)
I feel like I'm in good hands. I just have to find a way to manage pain without addiction. There has to be a way.
You all are amazing and I'm so grateful for your willingness to share your experiences and wisdom! I will certainly keep you posted and if anyone has any more advice - that would be awesome! I'm scared. Tomorrow, I'm going to give the tramadol a try to see if I can make it through the day with just one or 2 vicodin - alternating doses with the tramadol. Wish me luck. If I find that I'm unable to get out of bed, I'll be on here begging for encouragement. :)
Bless you all. It's liberating to discuss this with other people who get it. Thank you. Can't say it enough.
Tramdol is so addictive and honestly hydro is a picnic to get off of compared to tram ..I am going to post some info on it .The first time I had withdrawals from tram I had only taken 30 pills over a few weeks .I absolutely got a high off it it ...It like jumping from the frying pan into the the fire .It was hell for me to get off of I have been clean for over 600 days now but there are still days I crave it .... That's just my experience.good luck with what ever decision you make.
SOME INFO ON TRAMADOL
I have seen alot of info latley on tramadol some every incorrect .So I thought I would put some infromation together so everyone will have a better understanding of it .
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.
avisg - thank you for all of the information! Some of it I had read - some not. I did try it yesterday and it worked. I didn't have any negative side effects with it although I do think I had a little more energy - I wouldn't say that I felt "high" (because I remember back when I would only take vicodin a couple of times a year for another chronic condition I have and that was euphoria) - but I felt a little different.
I had to do it. I went to the pharmacy on Friday and was in so much pain by the end of the day - I was standing at the counter crying (I have a very kind pharmacist and she knows exactly where I'm at with my meds and I'm very open with her). So she said that I had to be very careful and try alternating doses of vicodin with tramadol to see if this helped and she said the serotonin in Tramadol may help with my depression - but recommended using it over a short period of time. I told her about posts I've read that say Tram is worse to get off of than Vic and she said that didn't surprise her but that at least in the short term, it would hold my pain at bay.
My pain levels were the best they've been in months! I was surprised by that. And it didn't take as much as my pharmacist thought it would take to match the amount of vicodin I've been taking - it just worked better.
I'm being careful only taking it when I need it. Only as scheduled. I'll use it for 1 week and see what happens when I get to see my doctor. All the personal information I've seen makes me scared of it but honestly, I'm absolutely unable to function with this pain. I'm at a loss.
It's so weird. Pharmacists & Doctors should have to take everything they prescribe like this for at least 3 months and then come off of it just so they can see how hard it is and really know what to tell a patient.
I really do appreciate all of the information and input from everyone.
I think I'll begin a new thread - but still check back on this one so I can keep you updated - I really don't feel so alone in this. But I wonder how folks like us, who abuse vicodin, deal with chronic pain. I have to take something and like I said, I see a naturopath - it's overwhelming - this pain. And I don't know how to function without relief.
Thank you everyone - please feel free to say more now that I'm trying the medication. If you have any experience with it - iamanaddict's story was scary! So I was super careful yesterday not to go over.
Tell your Doctor the truth tell him to up you to 10/325 tell him your in pain and if he won't help go to a diffrent Doctor i love my Doctor she would not let me be in pain don't lie to your Doctor if you want trust you need to tell them what is going on .Best of luck
did tramadol work for pain? I ran into the same situation as Sara. I have the tramadol 50 mg but never took them. I am on vicraprofen 7.5 200 ibu and had two back nerve blocks in a month that has not worked. I have a week until I can feel my script and it is like what am I going to do? Any ideas with the tramadol
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