How Does Tramadol Work?

Tramadol is also known by the common name of Ultracet, Ultram, Ryzolt in the United States and is known by the name of Ralivia in Canada.

How Does Tramadol Work?

For Which Medical Conditions Is Tramadol Prescribed?

Tramadol is an analgesic which is commonly used for treatment of mild-to-moderate pain in medical conditions like fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis.

Tramadol is a weak MU opioid receptor agonist and also functions as an agent which releases serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.

Antagonists with receptors like NMDA, nicotine acetylcholine, 5-HT, and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors.

MU Receptors- Analgesic action is through its effects on mu receptor, modulation of norepinephrine and serotonin uptake.

Naloxone is not known to turn around the effects of Tramadol.

What If Tramadol is Stopped Abruptly?

In case if Tramadol is stopped abruptly, then an individual may experience withdrawal symptoms which are quite similar to opioids.

  • Stopping Tramadol abruptly may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as seizures which could be life threatening.
  • Seizure is an atypical withdrawal symptom caused by lower seizure threshold secondary to 5-Ht blockade.
  • Symptoms of discontinuation of Tramadol are depression, anxiety, sweating, palpitation, paresthesias, restless legs, inability to sleep, vivid dreams, tremors, headaches. Some of the rare withdrawal symptoms of Tramadol that may occur are mood swings, micropsia or macropsia.
  • Withdrawal symptoms as a result of stopping Tramadol abruptly may begin within 24 hours and may last for several weeks because of its prolonged half life.

How Potent is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a bit less potent than hydrocodone but is far more effective than codeine.

Metabolites- The primary metabolite 0-desmethyltramadol is far more potent MU receptor agonist than Tramadol.

Tramadol when combined with acetaminophen tends to provide rapid and long term relief and is far more effective than using either of the medication alone. This combination has shown to be effective, safe, with tolerability for about two years without development of tolerance in treatment of chronic pain.

Tramadol Warning: What To Do In Case of Tramadol Side Effects?

In Case You Notice Any Side Effects Of Tramadol:

Report any type of adverse reaction or side effect of Tramadol to the drug to Food and Drug Administration. This can be done through their web site and also can be done by calling 1-800-332-1088 in the United States and 1-866-234-2345 in Canada.

  1. Inform physician ASAP of the side effects that you are experiencing after taking Tramadol
  2. Present to the closest emergency room immediately on experiencing Tramadol side effects in case you cannot get in touch with your physician.
  3. Look for the side effect profile of each medication.
  4. If you have consistent adverse reaction or side effects and they get intolerable then you need to get in touch with your physician or present to the nearest ER.
  5. Some of the signs of allergic reactions to Tramadol are are hives, dyspnea; swelling of lips, tongue, face, throat.

Tramadol Prescription Instructions

  1. Read instructions of Tramadol use very carefully
  2. If there are some parts about Tramadol usage which are not clearly understood then this needs to be discussed with the physician.
  3. The listed instructions on Tramadol use need to be followed religiously and carefully and Tramadol should be taken only as directed. One should not escalate or reduce the Tramadol dose or its frequency by his or her own discretion as then the chances of you getting exposed to adverse reactions of Tramadol get more.

What To Do In Case of Tramadol Overdose?

  1. You need to call 911 as immediate resuscitation is extremely vital as the first step towards treatment of potentially life-threatening symptoms of Tramadol overdose.
  2. You can also call Poison Center at the number 1-800 222 1222 after the initial treatment for Tramadol overdose is over.

Instructions On Sharing Medications (Tramadol)

One should never ever share medications like Tramadol with friends or relatives as each person has a different drug tolerance. Physicians should be careful enough to prescribe drugs like Tramadol only after taking a detailed history and conducting a thorough physical examination. As even a small mistake on this regard may become life threatening.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: May 8, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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