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Ultram versus Vicodin

Has anyone had any experience with Ultram for lower back pain?
I've been trying to find information on Ultram.  
Does anyone know anything about the drup Ultram?
I am suffering from servere lower back pain caused by multiple colasped and bulging disks.
I have had four epedural injections in the past year still without relief.
I've been taking 30 Vicodin HPs a week for a year now, but I am still suffering and I am finding it difficult to concentrate after taking Vicodin. I want to stop taking Vicodin before I become more dependant on it than I already am.
My Dr. has suggested switching to Ultram in the past.
Some pharmacist say that Ultram is addictive while others say it is not.
Before I switch to another medication I would like to know what I am getting myself into.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
William

112 Responses
Avatar universal
Ultram is reported by the drug company  not to be addicting but I personally know people who are abusing it right now.  They comment that it makes them feel relaxed and relieves depression.  One of my closest friends who has never been addicted to anything is going through a rough time in her life.  She admitted  to me of inventing a story of cluster headaches 24 hours a day in order to get a lot of Ultram from her doctor. She has even asked me to invent a story to get some from my doctor and she would pay me for them.  I won't do that and I have already lectured her. However, if you are taking Vicodin(more addicting than Ultram) and are not psychologically addicted to it and can wean yourself off quickly, then Ultram shouldn't be a problem for you. I would NOT go straight from Vicodin to Ultram without giving your body a chance to totally detox from the Vicodin because it may cause some withdrawal symptoms. I think Ultram is definitely a lesser risk than Vicodin for a person who has chronic pain.  Unfortunately, I think Ultram does cause drowsiness but I am not sure how that compares with the  drowsiness caused by Vicodin.

Melanie, R.N.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the info Melanie,

Since I've been taking Vicodin I have noticed darkening around my eyes and eyelids with bags under my eyes, also the whites of my eyes are no longer clear, they have taken on a hazey slightly pink glaze.
The darkening is worse on my left eye, it's darkest in the corner near the tear duct.
It hasn't made any difference how much sleep I get, I usualy get eight hours sleep a night.
Could this be caused by Vicodin or could something else be causing this?

Any information is much appreciated.
Thanks,
William
Avatar universal
William,Ultram is definitely addicting.  I an a certified addiction specialist and was checking out this site when I saw your question.  There was a patient in our addiction unit last week who was taking 20-30 Ultram a day.  I have a patient in my own practice who was taking 8 Ultram a day when he ran out.  He went into withdrawal that is typical of opiate withdrawas.  Although Ultram is not structured molecularly as an opiate it binds to the same receptor in the brain and thus has the same addictive properties as a typical opiate.  /The other important issue here is the fact that there is nothing wrong with using Ultram or opiates (codeine, Vicodin, Percocet, etc.) if you have a chronic pain problem and are not abusing your medications by taking more than is prescribed, getting it from more than one doctor, etc.  Chronic pain patients sometimes do become physically addicted to their medicines.  This will happen even if you take the prescribed amount for a long enough time on a daily basis.  But this is different from what we call substance dependence or what you might call addiction.  If you are following your doctor's advice and the pain meds are decreasing your pain and improving the quality of your life, they may be an appropriate treatment for you.  I would of course, look into all of the other non-drug treatments like physical exercise, strengthening, blocks, etc. if you haven't already done that.
Avatar universal
I have never heard of darkening around the eyes being caused by hydrocodone and Tylenol (Vicodin) but I know that taking a narcotic can disturb your normal sleep stages which may make you look tired and have the dark circles and red eyes. To be on the safe side,  have another person look at your eyes closely and also check under your tongue.  If there is any distinct orange color in the whites of the eyes, under the tongue, or the color of your skin, you could be one of the people who doesn't tolerate an ingredient in the Vicodin (Tylenol).  If you do see a distinct orange color, go see the doc.  

Melanie, R.N.
Avatar universal
Thank you Lisa and Melanie for your information.

It looks like Ultram is not the answer I was looking for to use as a long term medication.
Does anyone know of a medication for chronic pain that is not addicting?

Thank you,
William
Avatar universal
I HAVE BEEN TAKING ULTRAM FOR OVER A YEAR AS A BREAK THRU PAIN MED.  IT IS NOT ADDICTING.  I HAVE BEEN ON OXYCONTIN FOR THE SAME PERIOD AND THERE IS NO COMPARISON, FOR BOTH ADDICTION AND PAIN RELIEF.  OXYCONTIN IS A MUCH BETTER PAIN RELEIVING DRUG.
OR ASK YOUR DOC TO PRESCRIBE ORAMORPH.
Avatar universal
DON'T TAKE ULTRAM - It is very addicting.  I know. I'm taking it and can't get off it.
Avatar universal
I FIND THAT ULTRAM WILL WORK AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF NARCOTIC PAIN RELIEVERS,IF.......YOU TAKE TWO OF THE FIFTY ML. PILLS EVERY FOUR TO SIX HOURS.DOCTORS ARE JUST TO PARANOID TO PRESCRIBE IT STRONG ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.....GOOD LUCK
Avatar universal
I WOULD LIKE TO GET PREGNANT.I HAVE ONLY ONE PROBLEM,TMJ,CHRONIC...PAIN.I TAKE 1-2ULTRAM DAILY FOR PAIN MNGT.WHAT CAN I TAKE WHEN I GET PREGNANT?I CANT LIVE WITH THE SEVERE PAIN FOR 9 MONTHS,PLEASE ANY ADVISE????WHAT CAN I TAKE?    THANK YOU ......
Avatar universal
I WOULD LIKE TO GET PREGNANT.I HAVE ONLY ONE PROBLEM,TMJ,CHRONIC...PAIN.I TAKE 1-2ULTRAM DAILY FOR PAIN MNGT.WHAT CAN I TAKE WHEN I GET PREGNANT?I CANT LIVE WITH THE SEVERE PAIN FOR 9 MONTHS,PLEASE ANY ADVISE????WHAT CAN I TAKE?    THANK YOU ......
Avatar universal
I was put on Ultram fo neck pain, it did nothing, I took it for about a week, 4 pills a day at first, then called the doc and said it dident do anything, so they gave me 8 a day, I finily called the doc and told him to give me some REAL pain meds, I stoped taking them the same day and now take percocet witch works very well, Ultram is a joke!
Avatar universal
I think I'm going thru withdrawal? I thought this drug was non narcotic! HEADACHE, MUSCLE SPASMS/CRAMPS,ANXIETY AND REAL PHYSICAL PAIN.AM I ALONE?
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