Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Not sure if it has become a problem...

Hello. I hope I'm in the right place to ask this question as I'm too terrified to ask my friends and family.  It may sound completely stupid to many of you, but please be kind.  I feel like I need to give a bit of back ground as well. I suffer from debilitating pain from fibromyalgia and RA. I also have narcolepsy with severe cataplexy. The cataplexy is trigger by emotional responses. Most people have it during laughing. Mine tends to be related to my pain. When the pain is high, the cataplexy kicks in and I fall a lot and often end up hurting myself more.

We've not been able to control the narcolepsy or cataplexy through medication, but have had some luck with the pain. I was prescribed Tramadol 50mg for daily use 4 times a day. If it gets bad I was told to "double up". I've been on vicodin too, but only intermittently, as well as every anti anxiety and sleeping med you can imagine including Zyrem. I've never had any trouble not taking anything except the tramadol.

At times I run out before I should since I've had to double up. I used to be pretty good about always having enough. But its getting worse. I used to be able to pick up my refills about a week early, but I no longer can. So I've been without Tramadol for three days and still have 4 to go and I feel crazy. I'm sweating and nauseated. I can't get comfortable.  My legs feel like i have cramps and spasms.  The pain is horrible and is causing the cataplexy to be worse.  I've collapsed more than 13 times today due to cataplexy.

I'm worried I have become addicted to tramadol. Is this normal or do I have a problem?
18 Responses
4522800 tn?1470325834
Hi I just wanted to say welcome..It is slow right now but I can say that if u keep checking your post you will find alot of smart people who can share your experience...We have alot of tamadol people...So hang in and keep checking OK..I am so sorry about you health issue and not to sure about this one...
Keep checking..
God Bless
1796826 tn?1578874779
I don't have any experience with Tramodol personally, but I can assure you that yes, you can become physically dependent on it, and yes, you are going to have withdrawl symptoms at 24-48 hours past your last dose. There are people here who are quite familiar with it, they will be better able to advise you.

With your very real pain issues, I'd recommend you get with a qualified doctor to discuss pain management, and to educate yourself on all the factors involved if you choose opiates to control it, should you jointly decide that's what's best.
4827127 tn?1363060618
Hi yes this is a result of withdrawals from tramadol,  its not a drug that should be stopped suddenly tho there are people who chose to go cold turkey to quit, it is a nasty drug, I am  20 some odd days off and still suffer terrible effects from it, but not as bad as it first was. Search on here for tramadol you will find you are not alone...if you choose to stay on the drug you will have to be sure not to run out or will suffer this effect each time, you may wish to find a replacement for it because it can be so harsh on your body. You can search "thomas recipe" for items to make it more comfortable, take hot baths for the leg cramps, increase your potassium too. Any other questions please ask I will try to help.
Avatar universal
Welcome Potentially!  Sounds to me that you are experiencing the symptoms if Tramadol withdrawl. The restless legs, sweating, jitters etc..all of those can be signs of WD.  You however, even with 8  50 mg a day are at the prescribed highest allowed dosage, you are not exceeding it (I too used to at be that dose, but ended abusing it and was up to 20-30 50mg pills/day). Tramadol can be a very slippery slope.  For me, I just needed more and more of it, but by the time I was really abusing it, it was less about the pain and more about treating emotional issues.  While I have heard that many people on this forum have become really addicted and ave suffered really bad withdrawals from even low doses and short periods of Tramadol, it sounds like the narcolepsy problems you have are nothing to fool with and I'd talk to your doc.  Waiting to get the next scrip from him could mean a really rough time for you with WD.  I'd talk to him about your pain, the narcolepsy and what some alternatives are...but I'd be careful about Tramadol...it is not easy to stop.  You can read more from others journals about Tramadol (read EmilyPost journal if you can...one of the first Tramadol "warriors".  In the meantime while waiting to see your doc, take hit baths with Epsom salts to et magnesium into your legs.  Take extra magnesium, and check out the other supplements under the Thomas Recipe on the bottom of this page under most viewed.  Stay hydrated and at least take a multi vitamin.  Let us know how you're doing and if you meet with your doc.  We're here to help!
Avatar universal
Hello and welcome . . . so glad you found this site!  I agree that the feelings you are having are tramadol withdrawal.  I took this medication for a very long time, originally prescribed for back pain, became dependent on it quickly and battled with addiction to it for years.  Tolerance grows really quick and soon you end up needing more to get the same amount of relief, thus running out before your script is due, just as you have described.  Due to additional medical issues you are dealing with I really agree that you need to talk about all of this with your doctor.  I hope maybe there is an alternative pain relief option so that you can get off the Tramadol.  Withdrawal from Tram can be very difficult; I think you got some great suggestions from adexec to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms you are having until you can talk with your doctor about other alternatives.  Please be sure to drink lots of fluids (I always recommend Vitamin Water "Revive" when feeling w/d because it is full of B vitamins, potassium and electrolytes - all GOOD for you right now), and eat healthy - protein shakes or carnation meals if you don't feel like eating food right now.  We have been through this and want to help . . . . keep posting if you have questions and let us know how you are feeling.  Good luck!
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone that has responded. I really thought I was losing my mind. I googled some things before posting, but honestly it caused a lot of anxiety. I left a message with my doctor's office, as she is presently out of office.  I honestly wish I didn't have to take anything. Ever. I'm noticing many of the symptoms I mentioned are getting worse and am looking into the Thomas Recipe.  I have a script for Ativan and Valium, so as soon as I can have some one pick up the vitamins and supplements. I'm not allowed to drive due to the elp!narcolepsy and cataplexy. I'll keep you guys posted. I appreciate the h
Avatar universal
That last word should be help.
480448 tn?1426948538
Are you concerned that you're abusing the med?

What I don't fully understand is why you would be running out early and not able to refill your script.  If your doc told you to "double up" on your Ultram when the pain was very bad, then her script should have reflected that.  The script should be written to accomodate the MAX amount your doctor has directed you to take.  Are you taking more than prescribed?

If the script isn't written to reflect what the doctor has told you, then you need to take that up with your DOC ASAP...she should be able to call the Pharmacy to clarify, or issue you a new script that includes the PROPER instructions.  

If you're running out because you're taking more than you're supposed to be taking, you need to do some real soul searching to decide what's going on.  If you are overmedicating because of pain, the right way to handle that is to talk to your doc, not just take matters into your own hands.  If you're taking more for other reasons (how they make you feel, for energy, etc)...then you most likely are dealing with an addiction, and that would need to be addressed.

I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time managing your conditions.  Have you ever considered getting a second opinion?  Maybe there are some other treatment options your current doc isn't exploring...seems like you're on a LOT of meds...and so often, that creates even more problems than it helps.

Very best to you!  Sure hope you can sort all of this out!
Avatar universal
I agree, My doctor is EXTREMELY specific on everything she writes...hate that lol but they don't let anything slide anymore. On my last tramadol refill, I couldn't get the medication refilled until I was COMPLETELY out! Unreal! Can't tell if it's my insurance or a new thing they have issued with these drugs, as I was always able to get it ONE day early. ahh...Tramadol is such a monster.
Avatar universal
It wasn't really written as clearly as some of my others (ie vicodine).  The amount is equal to 10 more than the script reads so I guess I should have doubled up no more than 10 times. I don't really experience any thing more than pain relief, but I'm noticing that it seems to take more to relieve the pain. When I was on the vicodine all the time, it felt fuzzy. It was hard to think and I talked non-stop. As I said though, I only have taken those intermittently and didn't really enjoy it.

With the tramadol, I feel like I have to take it to even stand the pain. I just fell like it takes more and more and it's frightening- especially when I run out. It makes me so nervous. This is the longest I may have to go. But I just don't want to even have to worry about it.
Avatar universal
Hello, I am nervous writing this but I know this will be the best thing I can ever do. I have been on Zebutal for years now and my insurance no longer will cover this medicine so I decided that it is time to get off of it. I was taken 8 - 10 pills daily and around 18 days ago I started to taper down. I did 4 a day for 15 days and now I am on day three of 2 a day. I'm  really scared and want to continue this schedule and just don't know how and when I can cut to one a day then zero is my goal! I would appreciate any feed back on this.
3197167 tn?1348968606
Welcome to the forum~  If you can go to the top of the page and find the orange "post a question" box and then repeat or copy and paste what you just shared above, it will "start your own personal thread" here and a lot more people will be able to give you feedback and support you.

We have a fairly new forum member that is 12 days completely clean from the very same drug.  He tapered and is doing GREAT, so you can too.

You will find lots of support and help.....so glad you're here~
Avatar universal
I seem to be having a hard time posting my comment in the right place. What does it mean title & tag? I am not very good using a computer? Thank you so much for your feed back.
1235186 tn?1549257619
Hi don't worry about tag. Just title it zebutal taper? Or any question you want to ask. By the way you are doing great on your taper. Don't let the fear in.
Avatar universal
I do have a message in to my family doctor as he's coordinating my treatment.  It's taking longer than normal, thanks to spring break in our area. The other doctor on the office refuses to handle me for obvious reasons.

I have taken way more than I should have.  I find myself doubling up more and more often. I don't really notice any warm fuzziness like I have in the past on the Vicodin. I only notice that the pain subsides and I am able to move around. My fear is that it just seems to take more and more to help the pain. Imy srcript is written for 10 more than the directions equal; which means I should be able to fouls ten times. I want to double way more than that. :(

I hate taking pills in general and have admittedly used other recreational things in the distant past. But I have never found anything I could just not take. Of course, sadly what I took back them wasn't a neccessity. I just stopped when they ran out. And that was that.

But tramadol is different. It actually works for a reason and improves parts of my life. But the second I have to start counting pills and wondering if I can find more to get me through isnt good. I'm a mess.

The Thomas recipe has relieved a few of my symptoms. The L-tyrosine was very noticible. I've been drinking vitamin water revive and taking the b supplements. Since I can't work, I have the ability to just rest and sleep as I can.

If I could come off the tramadol. I just have to regulate the pain. Any ideas?
Avatar universal
Thank you for your help! I will try again to repost and see if I can get the most recent one who has been off for 12 days. This is definitely a very helpful forum for people who also are suffering from similar issues.
4810126 tn?1503942735
I had a friend that had Narcolepsy w/ Cataplexy and it was debilitating. I feel for you, Are you with a specialist? Do you take benzos or SSRI's? The reason I ask is because the Cataplexy can be worsened or trigged by SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome.

Avatar universal
I was taking up to 36 10mg Norco per day for the last 4-5 years (with some breaks down to 10-12 throughout) and have been off completely for 9 days. Withdrawal was not nearly as terrible as I thought it would be!!! I was able to taper down from 24 to 1 over a 10 day period so that helped. I also received acupuncture prior to my last dose and I think that really helped as well.

A few days prior to stopping the Norco, I started on Clonidine 0.2 mg in the AM and at around 6PM. I added a number of supplements plus Tramadol. Knowing that Tramadol is also addictive I took only 2 in the AM. 1 midday and 2 with the PM Clonidine dose. I also took an occasional 5 mg Valium at night but have only needed 5 pills total over the last 3 weeks.

Exercise has been critical and I am fortunate in that even while addicted to Norco I was heavy into exercise. I started Norco for low back pain but everyone knows how that goes. Acupuncture actually completely cured my back issues but I was still stuck with the Norco issue. During the withdrawal process and even though my energy was at a low at times, I forced myself to the gym. I have been surfing, running and strength training and it really helps with easing the entire withdrawal process.

A quiet, safe place to detox with supportive friends and family who understand what is going on is also critical to success (sometimes this can be the hardest thing to find).

I have only been on the tramadol for the last 3 weeks and have never exceeded 6 50mg pills in a day. I am down to 4 and plan to be off by the end of this week. Tramadol withdrawal is real and it ***** as my best friend was hooked on it for years. He is off now but his withdrawal was the real deal. He was on up to 16-18 pills per day and told me that it was almost as hard to get off tramadol as it was to get off Norco, which he was taking up to 10 per day.

I was in the exact same position that almost eveyone on this forum was/is. Hopelessly addicted to Norco with seemingly no way out. There is a way out and it can be done-I should know as I did it. Being off the pills is such a relief-not to have to worry about getting more, running out and just being a ******* slave to a little yellow pill. The first step is the hardest but worth it...
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