It is a prescription painkiller intended to treat mild to moderate pain that the National Library of Medicine (NLM) publishes is marketed under the following brand names:
- Ultram ER
- Rybix ODT
- Ultracet (a combination acetaminophen/tramadol product)
Opioid drugs act on opioid receptors in the brain, not only blocking pain, but also increasing pleasure and producing a mellow and euphoric “high” when abused. Heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration rates all slow down, easing stress and producing relaxation. Opioid drugs are some of the most abused drugs in the country, potentially due to these desirable effects when taken recreationally.
Tramadol acts on opioid receptors and increases the levels of dopamine present in the brain like other opioids, but it also inhibits norepinephrine and serotonin from being reabsorbed. This action is similar to the way many selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant medications work on the brain, the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology reports. This method of action may differ from traditional opioids, having both analgesic and antidepressant effects simultaneously.
The effects of tramadol may be intensified when its extended-release formations are altered (e.g., crushed to be snorted, injected, or smoked; or chewed and swallowed), and the entire dosage is sent into the bloodstream at once instead of slowly over a period of time. This can increase the risk for an overdose and may cause nausea, stomach cramps, dizziness, and drowsiness. In general, tramadol can cause a high that makes people feel relaxed, elevates moods, dulls pain, and reduces anxiety when it is used for nonmedical purposes.
Despite government regulations, Tramadol is still very widely abused. If you or someone close to you has been abusing Tramadol or is struggling with a Tramadol addiction, it is crucial to seek professional addiction treatment immediately. If left untreated, Tramadol addiction can be extremely risky and leads to painful tramadol withdrawal symptoms.
Why Tramadol Is Abused
Tramadol’s “high” may be more mellow than other opioids, making it seem like a valid alternative to other opioid pain relievers with a potentially lower incidence of abuse. In 2014, however, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) elevated tramadol above a “drug of concern” to a controlled substance, moving it into Schedule IV, citing similarities in its abuse potential to those of other scheduled opioid drugs. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that nonmedical use of tramadol was the cause of more than 20,000 emergency department visits in 2011, an increase of 250 percent from 2005. Tighter regulations on other opioid drugs may make tramadol a candidate for abuse, as it may be easier to obtain than drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) or Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen).Individuals who struggle with opioid addiction are more likely to abuse tramadol, as are those who suffer from chronic pain. Health professionals who are regularly exposed to it and have easy access to tramadol are also at higher risk, the DEA publishes.
Additionally, individuals who are being treated for opioid dependence, and taking opioid antagonist medications like naltrexone, may take tramadol as it seems to circumvent the opioid blockade and still produce a high, Psych Central reports. In this case, tramadol may serve as a substitute for other opioids that are blocked by the antagonist medication. Individuals may also take tramadol as an opioid substitute when trying to avoid tramadol withdrawal symptoms after “coming down” from opioids like heroin or more potent prescription opioids. Tramadol may temporarily ease drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it an attractive drug of abuse to those who struggle with opioid dependence. Tramadol is also habit-forming and can lead to drug dependence and addiction with continued abuse, however.
Tramadol and other medications
Given the state of the medication, users or clients usually have questions relating to the use of tramadol tablers in relation with other medications. Common questions include; is meloxcam like tramadol?, how long does it take for tramadol to kick in?, is tramadol an opiate?, is tramadol addictive?, the questions continue can you take ibuprofen with tramadol?, does tramadol cause constipation? is tramadol an opioid?, is tramadol a narcotic?, how long does it stay in your system?. Some users find a tradeoff between tramadol vs oxycodone and alos tramadol and alcohol.