About Tramadol: A Risky Pain Medication with Side Effects
When it comes to moderate to severe pain, opioids are often prescribed. However, all opioids come with a risk of abuse and potential health damage. Tramadol, a level IV controlled substance in the US, has a slightly lower chance of being harmful.
The Beginning of Tramadol
Tramadol is a synthetic opioid, meaning it is lab-made and not naturally occurring. It was approved by the FDA in 1995 and was not initially considered an opiate like morphine or oxycodone, although it had similar effects. In the following years, there were numerous cases of abuse and addiction, leading to its classification as a controlled substance in 2014 due to the risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose. Tramadol is typically prescribed for patients with osteoarthritis and other conditions.
What is Tramadol Used For?
Tramadol is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works as an analgesic or pain reliever by reducing the amount of pain felt by the body. It is a synthetic opioid made in the laboratory and should not be used at high doses for pain that can be managed with other medications. Tramadol is also a centrally acting opioid agonist and SNRI (Serotonin/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor) used to treat pain in adults.
How Does Tramadol Work?
Tramadol is a pain reliever that acts on the central nervous system and brain to alter how the body reacts to pain. It is structurally similar to codeine and morphine and is considered a low-risk opioid option for treating moderate and severe acute and chronic pain. It is prescribed for patients with pain that requires around-the-clock treatment, such as in the case of chronic illnesses like cancer. The onset of pain relief with Tramadol usually begins within an hour. However, it is important to note that Tramadol is prescribed because it has a greater chance of relieving pain symptoms than other medications, despite its potential side effects.
Precautions to Take When Using Tramadol
Tramadol can be habit-forming and addictive, especially if you have a history of substance misuse or abuse. After buying Tramadol online or from a pharmacy, it is important to monitor your dosage regularly to avoid addiction. If you have been using Tramadol for an extended period, you may develop a dependence or tolerance. If you feel that your dose is not working for you, inform your doctor instead of increasing the amount on your own to avoid addiction and overdose. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects and should monitor them regularly.
If you have:
- Severe breathing problems like asthma
- Stomach or bowel obstruction
- Used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, etc.
- Used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days
You should not use Tramadol unless specified otherwise by your prescribing physician.
What are the Side Effects of Tramadol?
The common side effects of Tramadol include constipation, nausea/vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness/drowsiness, tiredness, and headache. If these side effects persist or do not go away with time, inform your doctor.
The severe side effects of Tramadol include sleep apnea or interrupted breathing while sleeping, severe mood changes, agitation or hallucinations, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty urinating, and signs of adrenal glands not working, such as loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, and weight loss. If you experience any of these severe side effects, seek medical assistance immediately.
How to Use Tramadol?
Tramadol is an orally prescribed medication for moderate to severe acute or chronic pain and can be taken with or without food as directed by your physician. Take it regularly at the same time each day to gain maximum benefit. Do not crush/chew/dissolve the tablet or capsule but swallow it whole to avoid overdose, which can lead to death in severe cases. The dosage of Tramadol prescribed to you will be based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and previous use of opioids. The maximum dosage intake should not exceed 400mg in a day. Take Tramadol as soon as the first signs of pain appear, or it may not work as effectively.
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