Tramadol addiction has become a significant problem in the US, due to the misconception that this drug is not a narcotic. Often sold under the name Ultram, Tramadol is an opioid drug which is highly addictive due to its synthetic narcotic-like pain-relieving effects. Like morphine, Tramadol binds to the opioid receptors which are responsible for the transmission of pain, from the body to the brain.
Is Tramadol an opiate?
Tramadol is not an opiate; however, it is an opioid. Labs synthetically create opioids, whereas, they derive opiates from the opium poppy plant. So many individuals have been lead to believe that this is not an opioid medication. In fact, it is classified as an opioid because, like morphine and hydrocodone, it binds and activates the mu opioid receptor. This mechanism provides analgesic effect and subsequently, pain relief. Regular use of the drug can lead to physical dependence. Thus, when this exogenous source of opioids suddenly discontinues, individuals often experience withdrawal symptoms. If the drug were not an opioid, then this would not occur.
What are the side effects of tramadol?
The reason Tramadol is widely prescribed is that it is generally well tolerated; although in large dosages it can cause seizures or other health risks.
Like any other opioid drug, Tramadol side effects can include:
Nausea and vomiting
Weakness and Drowsiness
When combined with other medications, it can also cause a serotonin syndrome.
What are the uses of Tramadol?
Tramadol is opioid analgesic physicians prescribe to treat moderate to severe pain. The German pharmaceutical company Grunenthal GmbH first developed it in the late 1970s, marketed under the name Tramal.
The drug is available in capsules, tablets, extended-release tablets, suppositories, effervescent tablets and powders, and liquid for oral and sublingual administration. However, there are also tablets and caplets available with paracetamol (acetaminophen).
Some of its brand names are:
- Ultracet® (as a combination product containing Acetaminophen, Tramadol)
Tramadol is available in immediate release tablets of 50 mg, extended-release tablets of 100, 200, and 300 mg and capsules of 100, 200, 300 mg. Furthermore, recommended dosages range from 50 mg to 300 mg daily. Also, tramadol is also available for use in veterinarian medicine. Frequently, doctors prescribe it to treat pain from surgery, illness, and injury in dogs, cats, rabbits, marsupials, and rodents including flying squirrels, rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, and raccoons.
Is Tramadol a narcotic and is it addictive?
Most importantly, it is a Schedule IV controlled narcotic which often causes drug addiction. It may become addictive, even at prescribed dosages. As a result, abuse or misuse can occur, leading to overdose and even death. After prolonged use, many individuals develop a physical tolerance to the drug. Furthermore, they have to take more massive doses to feel the drug’s effect which often leads to physical dependence. However, when users attempt to stop taking the medication, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms.