What is Tramadol?
Tramadol is a painkiller that is also known as Ultram, ConZip, Dromodol, Ryzolt, Etc. Your doctor will prescribe this drug to remedy a variety of medical conditions but specifically for
- Treating stiff and painful muscles
- Alleviating moderate to severe pain that patients experience following surgery
Because Tramadol is an opioid analgesic that works with the body’s central nervous system to provide relief for patients with recurring chronic pain, it has been shown to potentially lead to dependence.
Tramadol Drug Classification
As mentioned above, Tramadol is classified as an opioid analgesic, a schedule IV, man-made or synthetic pain reliever prescribed for acute, chronic, moderate to severe pain management. Your physician may prescribe Tramadol when other pain killers have proven ineffective.
While a class schedule 4-drug was previously thought to lower the risk of abuse, therefore, accepted for medical use, however, as with any opioid, unregulated use of this drug can still result in physical or psychological drug dependence.
The pain-relieving ingredients in Tramadol come from opioids that are known for inducing the release of serotonin in the brain, a chemical that is directly associated with mood regulation and the body’s response to pain.
Additionally, the drugs also activate the release of endorphins, which are the brain’s feel-good relays, in order to mask your awareness of pain even for a while. What this ‘narcotic-like’ pain relief effect does is boost a feeling of pleasure, all the while creating a brief yet calming sense of well-being.
Associated Side Effects
While there is no telling who’s susceptible to opioid abuse, the compulsive use of a drug like Tramadol, despite its harmful consequences, may lead to dependence. Individuals who abuse opioids are more likely to develop substance use problems because they are highly addictive as they activate powerful reward centers in the brain.
As soon as an opioid drug wears off, you may find yourself craving that euphoric emotional state of mind. In turn, this becomes the first step toward the path to possible dependence.
While taking Tramadol for more than a week may significantly increase your chance of dependency, additional influences such as genetics, environmental, psychological, and not following your physician’s dosage instructions may increase your risk of developing substance abuse and consequent dependence.
Most patients can tolerate Tramadol plus side effects are generally temporary. Accompanying effect with long-term use of Tramadol include;
- Sedation or Euphoria
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light-headedness, drowsiness, weakness, and dizziness
Note; Some people may experience less commonly reported side effects of Tramadol such as;
- Visual disturbances
- Itching and having a rash
- Dry mouth
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
According to government-issued statistics, there has been a reported rise in Tramadol use by a whopping 88% over five years. Tramadol’s effects may be far weaker than a well-known opioid giant such as Fentanyl. Regardless, it is still a man-made opioid therefore, it can cause tolerance and abuse. Becoming physically dependent on a drug will result in subsequent withdrawal soon as you quit taking it.
The onset of Tramadol withdrawal symptoms typically begins about two days from your last intake and may resolve in about a week, depending on how large your dose was. Your withdrawal from Tramadol will also depend on factors such as your level of pain including your history of drug use disorder and or abuse.
A 2011 study stated that it is inherently possible for patients to become physically dependent on tramadol even when sticking to a prescribed dose by a qualified physician.
Discontinued use of Tramadol may result in symptoms such as;
- Different degrees of depression and anxiety
- Sweating and chills
- Body pains
Tramadol Drug Interactions
Combining Tramadol with alcohol, tranquilizers, anesthetics, and sedatives may increase the central nervous system and respiratory depression to render you unconscious or lead to breathing difficulties. You are in respiratory depression or dysfunction if taking breaths becomes slower and shallower than normal.
An overdose of Tramadol will cause respiratory depression and in more severe cases, the presenting symptoms may become more evident and include;
Do not take Tramadol if you are younger than 18 years old and have;
- Bowel obstruction
- Have recently drunk alcohol or used sedatives
If you are considering taking Tramadol while on other medication, chances are there will be a drug interaction in a positive or negative way consequently, producing unwanted side effects. To get the most out of your medication, whether drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration or herbal, discuss all concerns with your physician.
Because some drugs have more than one use, knowing how Tramadol works not only promotes treatment adherence but also helps you fully understand the basis for its use in the treatment of pain.
Additionally, understanding why your doctor prescribed Tramadol or any other drug improves your knowledge about the medication as well as the condition for which it is prescribed.
It is not surprising that some drugs, if not all, have side effects, mainly because they work by either curing the condition for which they are prescribed or alter some processes in the body to produce the desired beneficial effect. This is why it’s important to ask your doctor about the potential side effects to expect so that they can be recognized, alleviated, and acted upon correctly as soon as they occur.
Note that Tramadol may provide immediate relief to some people while others will require more time to be effective. Avoid deviating from the prescribed dose as it most often leads to side effects or failure of the intended therapy. However, changes in dose may be appropriate in some circumstances when severe drug interactions or side effects occur.
On such occasions, be sure to discuss all your concerns with your healthcare provider as soon as possible and ask about alternative medications.