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What is Tramadol?
Tramadol (Ultram) is a narcotic-like drug that is used to treat and manage pain. It works by blocking pain signals sent by your nerves to your brain. There are two types of Tramadol used: fast-acting and slow-release. Fast-acting Tramadol is often used for pain that is expected to last a short time, and will take effect within 30-60 minutes.
This is the type of Tramadol often used in hospital, and can be administered either by drops, injection, or found as a tablet or capsule. Slow-release Tramadol is used to treat long term pain conditions, and will usually act over 12 or 24 hours as it is gradually released into your body. This type of Tramadol often comes as a tablet or capsule.
What is it used to treat?
Tramadol is often used to treat serious pain, such as that experienced after an operation, or for long-term pain issues where other pain relief methods have failed or have no effect.
How do I know if Tramadol will be suitable for me?
You should work with your doctor or another suitable medical professional to work out whether Tramadol (Ultram) will be suitable for you. They will be able to discuss certain risk factors with you, such as:
- whether you are pregnant or nursing,
- if you suffer from any mental health problems or are at risk of suicide,
- if you have any pre-existing conditions that affect your breathing, such as asthma or sleep apnea,
- if you have any liver or kidney diseases, or any issues with urination,
- or problems with your stomach, gallbladder, thyroid or pancreas.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Tramadol your first action should be to consult the information leaflet inside of your Tramadol packaging. Alternatively, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist about what to do next.
You should never attempt to take 2 doses at the same time to ‘make up’ for a dose that you have forgotten to take, as this will increase your risk of side effects or lead to an overdose. You may wish to set up an alarm on your phone or leave your medication in a place where you will see it easily (outside of the reach of vulnerable adults or children) to help you to remember to take it.
What happens if I take too much?
If you take more than 1 extra dose than needed you should call your doctor immediately, or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency unit at a hospital. Due to the nature of the drug, you should not drive yourself, and should get someone else to take you there.
What happens if I wish to stop taking Tramadol?
If you wish to stop taking Tramadol (Ultram), you should speak to your doctor first. This is because Tramadol can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms should you stop taking it suddenly. These include things such as anxiety, agitation, shaking and sweating. Your doctor will work with you to create a plan which will take you off of Tramadol gradually, reducing the risk of withdrawal symptoms occurring.
Are there any notable side effects I should be aware of?
The most common side effects that users of Tramadol experience are feeling sick or dizzy. Some users can experience headaches, tiredness low energy or constipation. Tramadol can induce seizures, and your risk of seizures will increase if you take a higher dose than is recommended for you by a medical professional. Seizures can also be experienced by those who are also taking any opioid medications, or are on some types of antidepressants.
As it is a narcotic, some users can also experience hallucinations or confusion. Should Tramadol be taken incorrectly, or in conjunction with any risk factors such as alcohol or some pre-existing medical conditions, it could lead to severe breathing difficulty or death. For a full list of side effects it is recommended to read the information leaflet included with the medication. Should you experience any serious side effects (such as fitting or severe breathing difficulties) or suffer any allergy to Tramadol, medical help should be sought immediately?
Is there anything I should avoid when taking Tramadol?
If you are suicidal or have issues with addiction, it is not recommended that you take Tramadol. Additionally, it should not be taken in conjunction with depressants, such as alcohol or any drugs that might cause drowsiness, or slow your breathing, for example sedatives or tranquilizers. Pregnant women and children under the age of 12 are also strongly recommended not to take Tramadol, and should work with a medical professional to find a pain medication that is suitable for them.