Tramadol (brand names Ultram and Ultram ER) is classified as a schedule IV drug according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Tramadol is an opioid analgesic and also inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.
Tramadol is a prescription drug pain medication that helps provide relief for those suffering from various types of pain including severe pain and chronic pain. Commonly prescribed to treat back pain, tramadol is an opioid medication with the potential for abuse.
Common Side Effects Of Tramadol
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and in addition to sedation, the common side effects of tramadol include:
- abdominal pain
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
Severe Side Effects Of Tramadol
Some of the serious side effects of abusing tramadol include:
- breathing problems
- trouble walking
- high body temperature
- seizures in those with a head injury or those who have epilepsy
- fast heartbeat
- high body temperature
- allergic reactions
- blood pressure fluctuations
One of the primary concerns of taking tramadol is the potential of physical dependency, which is one reason this opioid medication is a controlled substance.
Once a person has become dependent on a drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop use.
Adverse Drug Interactions
Dangerous side effects can occur when tramadol is combined with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s levels of serotonin are dramatically increased.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- autonomic instability
- changes in mental status
- changes in blood pressure
Those who take antidepressants should not mix their medications with tramadol unless they’ve contacted a healthcare professional. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as phenelzine and serotonin, and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine, should not be taken with tramadol.
Medications that contain tramadol should also not be combined such as Conzip, or tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets.
Tramadol is also combined with acetaminophen in the drug Ultracet, which should not be mixed with Ultram or other opiate or opioid drugs like codeine or oxycodone.
The severity of opioid overdose depends on the dose of tramadol taken, as well as if central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, have accompanied the use of tramadol.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug. Taking high doses of tramadol and the use of opioids can lead to an overdose.
Some of the symptoms of an opioid overdose include:
- respiratory depression
- pinpoint pupils
- extreme sleepiness
- clammy skin
If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention right away. When you arrive at the emergency department, you may receive naloxone medication to help reverse the effects of the overdose.
Those who abuse tramadol may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawal symptoms one may experience include:
- mood changes
- trouble sleeping
- thoughts of suicide
Contact your healthcare provider to find treatment for your withdrawal symptoms. If your immune system is weak, your doctor may provide supplements to replenish the vitamins in your system.
To learn about treatment options for opioid addiction, please contact us today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.