Common tramadol withdrawal symptoms include stomach pain, insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, cold flashes, runny nose, and opioid cravings. Uncommon symptoms such as psychosis and serotonin syndrome have also been reported in rare cases.
The timeline for tramadol withdrawal can start hours after the last dose. The acute withdrawal phase, where patients experience constant withdrawal symptoms, may last up to 20 days.
Opioids can be habit-forming, and opioid dependence and withdrawal can make it difficult for patients to quit. A medical detox program can improve a patient’s long-term outlook when trying to stop taking the drug.
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
Tramadol is an opioid painkiller, often prescribed for chronic and severe pain relief. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain, causing sedation and analgesia. Over time, this can cause physical dependence where the body cannot work properly without tramadol.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms occur after the body is dependent on the drug, and you experience side effects because the drug is not currently in your system. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- stomach pain
- muscle aches
- muscle cramping
- high blood pressure
- sleeping problems
- excessive sweating
Some patients may experience withdrawal symptoms that are atypical. These symptoms, such as panic attacks, psychosis, and hallucinations, are often more severe than common symptoms of tramadol withdrawal.
Data from the NCBI bookshelf reports that severe withdrawal symptoms occur in about 12% of withdrawal patients. Risk factors for severe or atypical withdrawal symptoms may include long-term tramadol use and illicit tramadol abuse.
Timeline Of Tramadol Withdrawal Syndrome
Tramadol withdrawal syndrome can be divided into two phases. Acute withdrawal syndrome is the first phase, where the body is constantly suffering from withdrawal effects.
The withdrawal timeline of tramadol may vary whether the patient was given immediate-release or extended-release versions of the drug. Extended-release prescriptions such as Ultram ER may cause longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms compared to immediate-release versions.
Onset Of Acute Withdrawal (1 Day After Last Dose)
Within one day, acute tramadol withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, muscle aches, and drug cravings may occur. Withdrawal may start hours after the last dose, depending on the patient’s dosage and history of drug use.
Mild symptoms may occur first in patients, and these symptoms may gradually worsen as time goes on.
Acute Withdrawal Persists (10-20 Days After Last Dose)
Acute withdrawal may last for up to 20 days after the last dose of tramadol. During this phase, some patients may experience atypical withdrawal symptoms, such as psychosis and serotonin syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms from the previous phase may also continue.
The acute withdrawal phase can last up to 20 days. In severe cases, tramadol withdrawal can be life-threatening. The overall health risk of tramadol withdrawal can be exacerbated if a patient does not receive treatment.
Post-Acute Withdrawal (20+ Days After Last Dose)
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, is the second phase of withdrawal. Patients may feel symptom-free for long periods of time, before experiencing brief flare-ups of symptoms.
Anxiety, panic attacks, cravings, insomnia, and depression can be seen in patients suffering from PAWS. Post-acute withdrawal can be dangerous, as it can lead to relapse. Relapses after long periods of withdrawal can increase the risk of opioid overdose.
Patients struggling with tramadol withdrawal may benefit from a medical detox program. These programs surround withdrawal patients with healthcare professionals and addiction specialists who can monitor the patient’s health and manage withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid detox programs tend to last between three and 10 days. During this time, medical professionals may also assign patients to a tapering schedule, where their tramadol doses are gradually decreased over time. Tapering can make withdrawal symptoms less severe.
During tapering, doses of tramadol may be replaced with clonidine, methadone, and buprenorphine over time. These medications can reduce cravings and have a lower abuse potential than opioid analgesics like tramadol.
Tramadol Addiction Treatment
Opioid detox programs can help patients endure acute withdrawal, but on its own detox cannot remedy lifestyle choices and mental health issues that can lead to opioid abuse.
Inpatient and outpatient opioid addiction treatment plans can teach patients how to cope with cravings and learn healthy alternatives to opioid use. Treatment options may include behavioral therapy, counseling, wellness exercises, and support groups.
Contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center to find out if our tramadol, hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, or other opioid abuse treatment programs work for yourself or your loved one.
- Addiction and Health — Psychosis following Tramadol Withdrawal
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Prescription Opioids DrugFacts
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Withdrawal Management - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings
- National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Opioid Withdrawal