Tramadol: Interaction, Side Effects and Risk Factors

Common brand name – Ultram

Generic Name – TRAMADOL HCL


What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a narcotic like pain reliever. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This medication works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

How to take Tramadol?

Take tramadol orally as a whole and as prescribed by your doctor. Do not crush, chew, break or open the extended release pill. Powder from the crushed tablet should not be inhaled, or diluted with liquid to be injected in the body. If this medicine is inhaled or taken via injection then it causes severe side effects, over dose and at times lead to death.

Follow all directions on the prescription label or as advised by the doctor. Once you start taking tramadol, stop taking the other around the clock narcotic pain medications. Intake of tramadol can be done with or without food, but take it the same way and same time for all days as per prescription.

400mg per day is the maximum recommended dose per day however for people above 75 years the maximum dose is 300mg per day.

You may have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms once you stop this medication hence check with your doctor on the best and safe way to stop this medicine.

This medicine should be stored at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.

If you miss a dose, skip it if it’s almost time for your next dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

Tramadol overdose can cause serious issues specially if taken by a child or a person who has not been prescribed for the same. Hence seek medical attention immediately in such cases. Few of the overdose symptoms are fainting, drowsiness, cold, slow breathing and heart rate.

Avoid driving or doing any activity which requires mental alertness hence tramadol impairs your thinking capability and the person starts feeling drowsy. Avoid alcohol during the course of tramadol medications.

Things to make a note of before taking this medicine –

One should not take tramadol if you are allergic to it or have;

  • Blockage in stomach or intestines
  • Breathing problems or asthma
  • Recently taken alcohol, sedatives, tranquilisers
  • If you have taken MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days

Mention to your doctor if you have any of the below;

  •  History of drug or alcohol addiction
  • History of convulsions or head injury
  • Metabolic disorder
  • Use of any medicine such as antibiotics, medications for heart or blood pressure or medications for HIV or AIDS.
  • Any disease of liver or kidney
  • History of suicide attempt
  • Any stomach disorder.

Tramadol drug interaction –

Tramadol can interact with other drugs and cause serious side effects. Ensure to mention to your doctor if you are using any of the below before the start of tramadol;

  • Any drugs that make you feel drowsy, sleepy or slow your breathing.
  • Any narcotic medications
  • Drugs that affect the serotonin levels in your body. Such as medicine for depression, migraine, headaches.
  • Herbal products or vitamins.

Side-effects of Tramadol –

Below are the major side effects which may occur while taking this medication-

  • Bloating
  • Convulsions
  • Urine in blood or darkened urine
  • Skin blisters
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Memory loss
  • Fast and irregular heart beats
  • Indigestion
  • Pain and discomfort in the chest area

Minor side effects are listed below –

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of interest
  • Restlessness
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Dryness in mouth
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Sweating and feeling of tiredness
  • Loss of strength
  • Getting irritated over petty issues
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Confusion
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Skin discoloration

Side-effects of suddenly stopping this medicine are –

Eat adequate fibre food and drink plenty of fluids to avoid constipation.  Also to reduce the risk of dizziness get up slowly when rising from one position whether sitting or lying down position.

Risks of Tramadol –

  • Tramadol can at times slow or stop the breathing of the person who is using it. This happens usually when the patient starts using the medicine or the dosage limit has been changed. Tramadol should never be taken in large doses or for longer duration than prescribed by the doctor.
  • Some people have also come up with symptoms of convulsions after taking this medicine. Tramadol is more likely to cause convulsion if the person taking it has a history of seizures or head injury, there are any metabolic disorder. This also causes an issue if you are already on antidepressants, narcotic or medicine for nausea and vomiting.
  • Intake of tramadol should be avoided if you have used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers or any narcotic medicines in the past couple of hours.
  • Tramadol during pregnancy may cause threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Also tramadol can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. While you are breast feeding, avoid the intake of this medicine.
  • Tramadol acts as a habit-drug; hence one should keep a track of the usage each time you take it. Since it is a drug of abuse, you should be aware if anyone is using this medicine without prescription or improperly.

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