Tramadol: An Addictive Painkiller

Tramadol is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain in adults who usually need continuous treatment for long periods (chronic conditions). It is a powerful analgesic and may be harmful is large doses. Analgesics are commonly used as painkillers to treat different pain and aches.

Though a painkiller, Tramadol has addictive and narcotic effects.

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Uses of Tramadol

1. Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain (similar to codeine).

2. It has also been suggested that tramadol may be effective for alleviating symptoms of anxiety, and depression and phobias. This is because this drug acts on the noradrenergic and serotonergic systems, such as its “atypical” opioid activity, but only used when all other treatment methods have failed.

Tramadol is used as an ingredient in multi-agent topical gels and creams, in solutions for nerve pain, concentrated retention enema, rectal foam, and also as skin plaster (transdermal patch).

Side effects of Tramadol

The most commonly reported side effects of this drug are itching, vomiting, nausea, sweating, and constipation.

In some cases, drowsiness is reported, but it is a common symptom of opioids (Tramadol is not an opioid, but it works on the same receptors). Anxiety, electrical shock and buzzing like sensations may also be present.

There can also be withdrawal symptoms which include muscle contracture, uncontrollable nervous tremors and restless leg. Such symptoms usually appear in Tramadol is weaned off too quickly.

In males, there can be delayed ejaculation and sexual dysfunctions because it interacts with 5HT.

Seizures are reported in oral doses above 700 mg, and intravenous doses above 300 mg.

If Tramadol is taken with SSRIs, it can be fatal due to increased risk of serotonin toxicity.

Warning risks of addiction

Though Tramadol is not narcotic, it is addictive, and the patient must also be educated for its usage. Its use must be strictly limited according to conditions of patient.

Prolonged use of high doses of Tramadol is often associated with withdrawal syndrome and physical dependence.

Tramadol must not be used to manage long-term opiate addiction, or to be used to wean addict patients from opiate drugs.

If Tramadol is discontinued abruptly, there can be severe mood swings, brain “zaps”, electric-shock-like sensations throughout the body, tremors, headache, depression, anxiety, anguish, aggressiveness, restless legs syndrome, paresthesias, sweating, palpitations, insomnia, nightmares or vivid dreams, macropsia and/or micropsia.

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