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Tramadol – Top 5 Things You Need to Know

Tramadol a centrally acting oral narcotic analgesic is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain in adults. Extended release form is used for a long term treatment of pain and sometimes used in combination with acetaminophen which is available on prescription. Initially, Tramadol was approved as a non-controlled analgesic by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Later, the status was changed to a status of a controlled substance due to the reported drug abuse and diversion. Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported 20,000 emergency department visits due to the non-medical use of Tramadol.

  1. Tramadol is now a controlled substance in all 50 U.S. states: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced that Tramadol is placed in Schedule IV of Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This was effective August 18, 2014. It has been done due to the growing concern of abuse, misuse, addiction and overdose of opioid analgesics.
  2. Tramadol is associated with a wide array of side effects:As Tramadol is structurally related to the Opioid class of drugs like morphine and codeine, it can be associated with addiction, psychological and physical dependence and withdrawal. People who have a habit of taking narcotic drugs are at a higher risk of addiction. Illicit actions to obtain drug may occur in people even without a prior addiction also. Constipation, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, sense of imbalance, headache, sleepiness, agitation and anxiety, indigestion, convulsions, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, itching or rash and nervousness.
  3. Dangerous drug interactions are possible with tramadol: Tramadol may lead to a dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome. Patients who receive serotogenic drugs called triptans may lead to this condition. Do not take tramadol with alcohol, tranquilizers, sedatives and narcotic medications. It should not be mixed with alcohol and in any case of driving and other situation which requires alertness, it has to be avoided.
  4. Tramadol can be habit-forming:It is structurally related to opioids like codeine and morphine and may lead to dependence, addiction. People with drug seeking habit can be at a higher risk of addiction. Do not stop abruptly taking Tramadol because it leads to withdrawal symptoms like sweating, difficulty in sleep, shivering, pain, tremors, or rarely, hallucinations may occur.

5.       Tramadol is available in both immediate-release and extended-release formulations: Tramadol for immediate release is available in the form of tablets and is very effective for people who do not require pain killers for the whole day. The tablet can be taken every 4-6 hrs to attain maximum relief or can be taken as advised by the physician. Tramadol ER (Extended release) should be taken exactly as prescribed by the physician and never take it in larger amounts or for a longer duration than the time advised by the doctor. Make sure to follow the directions on the prescription label. Inform your doctor if the drug does not reduce the pain or if there is no effect. Inhaling or taken by injection may be life-threatening, and overdose may lead to death.