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And like many with his condition, the year-old gospel singer and former construction worker used a combination of medications to alleviate his pain. But as he took more drugs, including narcotic painkillers, Fort was often groggy when awake.

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Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain. People usually swallow it in pills or capsules.

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Last updated on Jan 24, Maybe you've heard that tramadol is a "safer" pain medication. But is that really true? Is tramadol a narcotic?

2. tramadol is associated with a wide array of side effects

The facts: tramadol is classified as a centrally-acting, oral analgesic pain drug that contains an opioid narcotic. So yes, tramadol is a narcotic. Other opioids include drugs you may be more familiar with, like oxycodone or codeine. Opioids have made headlines over the past few years due to the tremendous problem of opioid addiction in the U. Tramadol is approved for the treatment of pain in adults that is severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which other treatments do not work or are not tolerated.

1. about tramadol

Dosing is individual for each patient. The lowest effective dose for the shortest duration should be used.

In addition to acting at the opioid pain receptor, tramadol also inhibits uptake of two neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin, which may add to its pain-relief effects, although the exact mechanism isn't exactly known. Intramadol was originally approved by the U. However, sincechanges to the controlled substance status of tramadol have been made due to reports of drug abuse, misuse and criminal diversion shifting of any legally prescribed controlled substance from the patient to another person for any illicit use, such as abuse or sale on the streets.

The U. Tramadol prescriptions in the U. After five refills or after six months, whichever occurs first, a new prescription is required. In many people, tramadol is well-tolerated when used for pain, but tramadol can also cause some common and serious side effects. In fact, the Drug Abuse Warning Network DAWN has reported that over 50, emergency department visits were related to tramadol use, and over half of these visits were related to side effects of the drug.

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Tramadol has a long list of serious and potentially fatal reactions. It is important to discuss these side effects with your doctor before starting treatment as they can worsen with higher doses or with drug interactions. If you start this drug slowly and at a lower dose as directed by your doctor, it may help to lessen side effects at the start of treatment. Call your healthcare provider if you have any of side effects that are severe or concerning to you.

Breathing changes like slowed or stopped breathing can occur at any time with tramadol, but the risk is especially great when treatment is first started within the first 24 to 72 hours or when there is a change in your dose. Your doctor may need to adjust your tramadol dose or discontinue treatment based on how it affects your breathing.

Opioids can lead to other breathing problem like central sleep apnea CSA and low oxygen in your blood while you are sleeping. These effects may be worse with higher doses. If you have sleep apnea, your doctor may need to adjust your dose of your opioid or find a safer treatment for you. You should NOT use tramadol if have severe asthma or breathing respiratory depression or lung problems, a bowel blockage or narrowing, or an allergy to tramadol. Do not use tramadol if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor MAOIa type of drug for depression, in the last 14 days.

Seizures have occurred in patients taking recommended doses but are more likely at high doses associated with abuse.

1. tramadol is now a controlled substance in all 50 u.s. states

Do not abruptly tramadol taking tramadol as withdrawal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, or tremors may occur. More serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide may occur in those physically dependent on opioids. Consult with your doctor on how to slowly stop treatment. Other side effects with tramadol can occur. Review a full list of tramadol side effects here. You probably already suspected that tramadol has drug interactions, but you may not know the extent and seriousness that some of these drug interactions can cause.

Also, the way that the drug is broken down and excreted from the body metabolism is complicated and sometimes unpredictable, especially in children. Review : Tramadol drug interactions. If you are known to be an " ultra-rapid metabolizer " you should not use tramadol. This means that you create the active M1 metabolite from tramadol more quickly than others, and are at risk for dangerous or even fatal respiratory depression or overdose.

Tramadol is known to interact with drugs that are affected by cytochrome P CYP enzymes. Specifically it can interact with drugs that affect the 3A4 and 2D6 enzymes, and interactions may occur when starting or stopping drugs. Increased blood levels of tramadol or the active metabolite M1 may occur and be dangerous or fatal.

There are can be many of potential complex interactions so it's important you ask your pharmacist or doctor to check for drug interactions when using tramadol or tramadol ER. Serious side effects including seizures and serotonin syndrome may also occur due to drug interactions. Taking tramadol with drugs that already have a seizure risk may worsen that risk. The use of tramadol with benzodiazepines or any other sedative, hypnotic or tranquilizeranti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxant, anesthetic, antipsychotic, alcohol or other narcotic medications including illegal drugs or alcohol can lead to extreme sedation, you or stopped breathing respiratory depressioncoma and death.

Patients should always have a drug interaction review completed each time they start a new medication, or even stop a medication, and that includes prescription drugs, herbals, over-the-counter OTC medicines, and supplements like vitamins. Your pharmacist can advise you on possible tramadol doe interactions, so be sure to ask.

Tramadol is high related to the opioids like codeine and morphine and can lead to psychological and physical dependence, addiction, abuse, and withdrawal. People with a history of a drug-seeking behavior may be at greater risk of addiction, but illicit actions to obtain the drug can occur in people without a prior addiction, as well. Do not abruptly stop taking tramadol as withdrawal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, sweating, difficulty in hcl, shivering, pain, tremors, or rarely, hallucinations may occur.

Rapid discontinuation of opioid analgesics has resulted in serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide. Get symptoms may also occur if tramadol is used with drugs with opioid antagonist activity e.

The analgesic effect of tramadol may also be reduced. Avoid the use of tramadol with these drugs.

Consult with your doctor before discontinuing tramadol treatment; do NOT discontinue treatment on your own. Withdrawal symptoms may be relieved by re-initiation of opioid therapy followed by a slow, dose reduction combined with symptomatic support, as directed by your doctor.

Takes steps to secure your tramadol in a safe place at home to prevent theft, accidental overdose or death. Keep out of the reach of children. Both the immediate-release and extended-release formulation of tramadol are available generically and can possibly save you hundreds of dollars on your prescription. Do not use more than one tramadol product at a time. Do not exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor. If you prefer generic medications due to cost-savings, ask your physician to only write for generic drugs whenever possible.

If you cannot afford your medication, do not walk away from the pharmacy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a more affordable alternative.

The extended-release form of tramadol is for around-the-clock treatment of pain and not for use on an as-needed basis. A combination product of tramadol and acetaminophen Ultracet is also available in both brand and generic form as a tablet. Learn more about generic drugs: Facts About Generic Drugs. Here's another good reason not to share your tramadol with others: the dose you are prescribed may not be the right dose for someone else, and could lead to serious consequences like slowed or stopped breathing, coma, or even death.

As with many medications, if you are young, elderly, or have kidney or liver disease dose adjustments are often required. Overdose : Naloxone Narcan will reverse some, but not all, symptoms caused by overdosage with tramadol, and the risk of seizures is also increased with naloxone administration. Monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration breathing is reliably reestablished. Extended-release tramadol will continue to release into the blood for 24 to 48 hours or longer following ingestion, meaning a prolonged period of monitoring may be needed.

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Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you use tramadol while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug addicted. Possibly fatal withdrawal symptoms may occur in your baby after it is born, causing death. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks.

Do not breastfeed while taking tramadol. This medicine can pass into your breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby. Your doctor should always be your first and final contact for advice on tramadol use. However, support groups may be helpful for patients who take tramadol, who use medications for pain relief, or who are in need of addiction support.

ing one or more support groups is a great way to discover others taking related medications with similar medical conditions, keep up with the medical news, and share your own experience. There are over reviews for tramadol from patients like you who use this drug for general painback painfibromyalgia and other various conditions some of which may be off-label use, meaning the drug is not approved by the FDA for that particular use.