Tramadol is a medication prescribed for many things but most often for relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. It is in a class of medications called opiate agonists and comes in tablet and capsule forms. It should be used exactly as the prescribing doctor instructs because to take too much or too little is to risk unwanted side effects. Tramadol can be habit forming if it is taken irresponsibly, but is safe when used as directed.
Usually the doctor will prescribe a low dosage to start, and then gradually increase the dosage until the optimum pain relief is achieved. The time release tablet is most often taken once a day, while the regular tablet is usually taken at four or six hour intervals. It is quite important that the tablets be taken regularly and at the same times during the day for the best results.
This drug is taken by mouth and the tablets must be swallowed whole. Crushing to mix with other things, grinding to a powder to sniff, dissolving into a liquid form to inject are all unsafe and could lead to serious side effects or even death. It is not necessary to take this drug with food.
Stopping taking this medication without the prescribing doctor’s approval is unsafe and can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms including, but not limited to: sleep disorders, seizures, panic, and hallucinations. The doctor will usually gradually reduce the dosage of the Tramadol instead of suddenly taking the patient off of the medication all at once.
Drug interactions can be serious. The patient should tell the doctor if he/she is taking any natural remedies, especially St. John’s wort as these preparations are also medications and can interfere with tramadol’s effectiveness or safety.
Tramadol can be habit-forming. A desire to take the medication more often or in higher doses should be immediately reported to the prescribing physician, as should marked changes in mood or emotionality. Tramadol should not be taken for a longer period than prescribed by the doctor.
Tramadol should not be taken if the patient is allergic to other medications including, but not limited to: meperidine, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and propoxyphene. The patient must be sure to tell the doctor of any allergies he/she has to any medications.