Tramadol is a painkiller that belongs to the opioid class of drugs. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain that is not relieved by other types of painkillers. Tramadol works by acting on the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to reduce the amount of pain you feel. However, tramadol also has some risks and side effects that you should be aware of before using it. In this blog post, we will answer some of the most common questions about tramadol and provide you with useful information about its benefits and uses.
What is tramadol used for?
Tramadol is mainly used for treating moderate to severe pain that is caused by various conditions, such as:
- Postoperative pain
- Cancer pain
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Fibromyalgia pain
- Chronic low back pain
Tramadol can also be used for other purposes that are not listed here, but only under the guidance of your doctor.
How does tramadol work?
Tramadol works by mimicking the action of natural substances called endorphins that are produced by your body to relieve pain. Tramadol binds to specific receptors in your brain and spinal cord called opioid receptors and blocks the transmission of pain signals. Tramadol also increases the levels of two chemicals in your brain called serotonin and norepinephrine, which can enhance your mood and reduce anxiety.
How should I take tramadol?
Tramadol comes in different forms and strengths, such as:
The form and dose of tramadol that you take will depend on your condition, age, weight, and response to the medication. You should always follow the instructions on the label or the advice of your doctor or pharmacist on how to take tramadol.
Some general tips on how to take tramadol are:
- Take tramadol exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less than the recommended dose or for longer than the prescribed period.
- Take tramadol with or without food, but avoid taking it with alcohol or other drugs that can affect your breathing or make you drowsy.
- Swallow the tablets or capsules whole with a glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or break them.
- Measure the liquid or drops with a special dose-measuring spoon or syringe. Do not use a regular spoon as you may not get the correct dose.
- Inject the solution into a vein or muscle as directed by your doctor or nurse. Do not inject it into a skin or joint as it may cause tissue damage.
- If you are using the extended-release form of tramadol, which is for around-the-clock treatment of pain, do not take it more than once every 12 or 24 hours, depending on the product. Do not take it on an as-needed basis for pain.
- If you miss a dose of tramadol, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once to make up for the missed one.
- If you want to stop taking tramadol, do not do it suddenly, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, sweating, shivering, tremors, or insomnia. Talk to your doctor about how to gradually reduce your dose and stop taking tramadol safely.
What are the side effects of tramadol?
Tramadol can cause some side effects, which may vary from person to person. Some of the most common side effects of tramadol are:
- Dry mouth
Some of these side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if they persist or worsen, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist.
Some of the more serious side effects of tramadol are:
- Breathing problems
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
- Mood changes
- Allergic reactions
These side effects are rare but can be life-threatening. If you experience any of these side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately.
What are the interactions of tramadol?
Tramadol can interact with other medications or substances that can affect your breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, mood, or brain function. Some of the medications or substances that can interact with tramadol are:
- Muscle relaxants
- MAO inhibitors
These interactions can increase the risk of serious side effects, such as respiratory depression, coma, or death. Therefore, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications or substances that you are using or planning to use before taking tramadol. You should also avoid taking tramadol with grapefruit juice or herbal products that contain St. John’s wort, as they can affect the metabolism and effectiveness of tramadol.
What are some frequently asked questions about tramadol?
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about tramadol and their answers:
Is tramadol addictive?
Tramadol can be addictive if it is misused or abused. Tramadol can cause physical and psychological dependence, which means that you may feel a need to take it regularly or in higher doses than prescribed. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly. Therefore, you should take tramadol only as prescribed by your doctor and do not share it with others.
Can I drive or operate machinery while taking tramadol?
Tramadol can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery, as it can cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or slow reaction time. Therefore, you should avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how tramadol affects you. You should also avoid drinking alcohol or taking other drugs that can worsen these effects.
Can I take tramadol while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Tramadol is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as it can harm the unborn baby or the nursing infant. Tramadol can cross the placenta and enter the breast milk, and may cause breathing problems, withdrawal symptoms, or developmental problems in the baby. Therefore, you should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, before taking tramadol. Your doctor may prescribe a safer alternative for you.
Can I take tramadol with other painkillers?
Tramadol can be taken with other painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin, as long as they are not contraindicated for you. However, you should not take tramadol with other opioids, such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone, or fentanyl, as they can increase the risk of serious side effects, such as respiratory depression, coma, or death. You should also check the labels of any over-the-counter products that you are using, such as cough and cold remedies, to make sure they do not contain any opioids.
How long does tramadol stay in your system?
Tramadol can stay in your system for different periods of time, depending on the dose, frequency, and duration of use, as well as your age, weight, metabolism, and kidney and liver function. Generally, tramadol can be detected in your blood for up to 24 hours, in your urine for up to 4 days, in your saliva for up to 48 hours, and in your hair for up to 90 days after the last dose.
Tramadol is a painkiller that belongs to the opioid class of drugs. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain that is not relieved by other types of painkillers. Tramadol works by acting on the brain and spinal cord to reduce the amount of pain you feel. However, tramadol also has some risks and side effects that you should be aware of before using it. You should always take tramadol as prescribed by your doctor and follow the instructions on the label or the advice of your pharmacist. You should also monitor your response to tramadol and report any adverse effects or interactions to your doctor or pharmacist.