Serious FDA warnings
This drug has boxed warnings from the FDA about possible dangerous effects:
- Addiction and misuse
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Accidental ingestion
- Life-threatening effects for children
- Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome
- Interactions with certain drugs
- Interactions with benzodiazepines
Addiction and misuse: This drug can lead to addiction and misuse, which can result in overdose and death. To help avoid these problems, take this drug exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you have any concerns about this warning, talk with your doctor.
Slowed or stopped breathing: This drug can slow or stop your breathing. If this isn’t treated immediately, it can cause death. This risk is highest within three days of starting the drug or increasing your dosage.
Accidental ingestion: If anyone, especially children, takes a dose of this drug by accident even once, it can cause death. This drug should be stored out of reach of children.
Life-threatening effects for children: In some cases, children’s bodies can process this drug too quickly. This can lead to slowed breathing and death. This drug shouldn’t be used in children younger than 12 years of age. It should also not be used in children younger than 18 years of age who have certain risk factors, or who have just had a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome: If you use this medication for a long time while you’re pregnant, it can cause withdrawal in your baby. Withdrawal in your baby can lead to death. Symptoms of withdrawal can include irritability, hyperactivity, unusual sleep patterns, and a high-pitched cry. They can also include tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight.
Interactions with certain drugs: Taking tramadol with certain drugs can cause varied serious effects. These effects include increased tramadol levels, possibly leading to seizures and serotonin syndrome. They also include reduced effectiveness of tramadol, and opioid withdrawal symptoms. The drugs that can cause these effects include amiodarone, quinidine, erythromycin, ketoconazole, ritonavir, and similar medications.
Interactions with benzodiazepines: Taking tramadol with benzodiazepines and other similar drugs can cause very serious effects. These effects can include severe fatigue, slowed breathing, coma, and death.
Tramadol oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as an immediate-release and extended-release tablet. Tramadol also comes as an extended-release oral capsule. Immediate-release drugs are released into the body right away. Extended-release drugs are released into the body slowly over time.
Both tramadol oral tablets are also available as generic drugs. The immediate-release tablet is also available as the brand-name drug Ultram. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.
Tramadol is a controlled substance. This means it can only be used with a doctor’s close supervision.
Why it’s used
Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Tramadol may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.
How it works
Tramadol belongs to a class of drugs called opioid agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
Tramadol works by changing how your brain senses pain. Tramadol is similar to substances in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins bind to receptors (parts of cells that receive a certain substance). The receptors then decrease the pain messages that your body sends to your brain. Tramadol works in a similar way to decrease the amount of pain your brain thinks you’re having.
Tramadol oral tablet may cause drowsiness. You should not drive, use heavy machinery, or perform any dangerous activities until you know how this drug affects you. Tramadol may also cause other side effects.
More common side effects
The more common side effects of tramadol can include:
- nausea and vomiting
- lack of energy
- dry mouth
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include:
- fast heart rate
- high blood pressure
- body temperature that’s higher than normal
- reflexes that are stronger than normal
- lack of coordination (control of your movements)
- nausea and vomiting
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
- Serious breathing problems. Symptoms can include:
- slowed breathing rate
- very shallow breathing (little chest movement with breathing)
- fainting, dizziness, or confusion
- Physical dependence and withdrawal when stopping the drug. Symptoms can include:
- feeling irritable, anxious, or restless
- trouble sleeping
- increased blood pressure
- fast breathing rate
- fast heart…