Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Tramadol and Side Effects?

NumbskullNNumbskull Posts: 1,526
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Pain Medications
Hi everyone!!

Hope this finds everyone well, and having a good day, and for those who aren't, I hope it gets better!!

So my doc prescribed Tramadol today for me, so I can stop taking oxycodone (don't want to be on opiates). What kind of side effects have you had on this, if any, and does it keep your chronic pain at a minimum throughout the day? I just want to live at least a semi-normal life without being all doped up and loopy!!! Thanks!!!

Be well and warm wishes to all.
APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own


  • You are on anti-depressants! See my post about being rushed to the hospital with seizures!
  • I'm on Tramadol as well as oxycodone (and some others at the moment)and have been on Tramadol for around 12 weeks in the past. I found the pain relief doesn't seem to have a big impact like most other meds but if you stop taking it you can tell it was in fact helping. For me it just seemed to take the edge off the pain whereas opiates and that are direct relief. I personally haven't experienced any side effects from Tramadol and was on varying dosages last time eventually stopping cold turkey without problems. My GP seemed a bit surprised at that though so perhaps I'm not the norm.

    One of my current medications is also an anti-depressant (Amitriptyline 25mg) however I am only taking it once daily to help with sleep. My NS knew I was taking Tramadol when he prescribed it but it does mention adverse effects in the product information regarding mixing it with Tramadol. So far in 3 weeks I haven't had any problems but am now going to double check things with a GP after reading about the seizures.
  • I've been taking it for the past 6 months. It's the only thing that I can take and drive and work. Like thigh gripper I wondered if it was working and quit taking it. I found out fast that it was working. I have had no side effects from it not even drowsiness.
  • Thanks everyone!! I also take Cipralex, for anxiety, and after researching tramadol, was wondering if it did indeed effect seizures. I used to have seizures when I was a toddler (non-epileptic). It's good to know that it does work, I can't take the opiates during the day because of work and having to drive, and at night, it usually takes at least 2 if not 3 oxy before the pain subsides. And at work, I'm just in such horrible pain, I know it's affecting me. So thanks for the warnings, and the advice, and letting me know that even if I think it's not working it really is. We're trying this for a couple of weeks to see if it helps, and then my doc is sending me to the pain clinic, and the doc she's sending me to, my mom worked with for years, and just loves him, I guess he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, lol. So that makes me happy, something else to look forward to!!!
    Wishing you all a great day, be well!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Even at normal doses with tramadol I experienced a lot of urine retention. My doc said that that shouldnt happen but it as taking me like 10 minutes to go the bathroom.

    Haven't heard of anyone else having this happen but I thought I would throw it out there.

    And don't take more than 400mg a day especially with anti-depressant meds!!! seizures are bad!

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that I got next to no pain relief from tramadol. Nothing more than tylenol at least...
  • I'd been taking Tramadol for some years. Only recently I found that it was making me sick everytime I took it. I was also taking lanzoperazol to stop any tummy troubles that were associated with tramadol. I found it took the edge off but never removed all the pain.
  • I have been on it for the last 2 weeks and havent noticed any side effects, I do believe it takes the edge off without the "loopy" effects.
  • I've really not had any problems with Tramadol. From what I've read here on Spine-Health (there have been several threads on this very subject) I think that it's almost all or nothing when it comes to side-effects.

    I can say that it definitely works differently. For me it takes the edge off so I can work and function through the day. Not like taking a narcotic that wonks me out but also nearly completely removes the pain. I have maybe a tiny bit of drowsiness, but not much. I definitely can't take it at night. It keeps me awake, that's the only problem I've encountered.
  • You just said something that made me go hmmm... So it's the Tramadol keeping me staring at the ceiling until 1:00 a.m. and I finally pass out. I couldn't put my finger on what was going on because I passed exhausted back around 10:00 p.m. Thanks!
  • i have been on tramdol and i never got relief from it. it didnt even break the edge for me. all it really did for me is keep me up all night and make my belly hurt. so like everything else it depends on the person. hope everyone has a good day and pain free. krazyangel
  • that was the 1st med literally scripted for me and i think i felt the effects for all of a week, with a bit of a woosy feeling and then that was it. Granted I dont take anything for even a headache so this was new, but it literally does nothing to me now..
  • because it make me here things when i close my eyes sounds like entering a room full of people and they are all muttering in different languages and i also see black and white mosaic figures ..very scary.and i did not find them to work on pain .so no goo for me !
  • thats what my doctor has given me ......... but its called tramcet? its tramdol with acetmediphine (sp sorry) it does nothing for my pain just gets me very, very high. if that makes sense, cause narcotic pain relivers do not make like that at all.
  • I first went on Ultram (tramadol), I believe it was fairly close to when it first "came out," in 1999. It initially worked great, although it always made me a bit hyper. Back then, it wasn't widely known that it could cause physical dependence. When I decided to stop taking it because I felt it just wasn't helping anymore, I ended up in severe withdrawals. My doctor at the time took some convincing, but he left the room, and when he came back, he said, "well it seems it CAN cause withdrawals".

    My point being, be careful. It may not be a narcotic, but it works on the same pain receptors as narcotics. I've also spoken to people that actually get sleepy from it, but for me it always had the opposite effect. It's not proven, but it may also help lengthen pain relief when used in conjunction with other pain meds. This is only from experience. My doctor decided last year to add tramadol to my meds because Oxy was just not lasting as long, and behold, it actually worked.

    I also get extremely shaky if I take it on an empty stomach. I end up with not the urge to eat something, anything, but an actual feeling that I MUST eat something, or collapse. I no longer take it because it just doesn't help.

    Good luck!


  • I've been taking tramadol for about a month. It takes the edge off, but keeps me up at night. No other side effects as of yet.
  • I like Tramadol. It is the only thing I can take for the pain (and it works although not as strongly as oxy) and still be able to drive and work and function. I take the oxy in the evenings or if I am having bad pain and can stay home but will take the Tram for daytime and it does great.
  • I'm beyond tramadol now, but at one point in time, I found myself saying, 'now THIS is what tylenol should REALLY be like'. It was effective, mild, and mellow. It doesn't work for moderate to severe pain in my case, but is definitely worth a try. And definitely, please, adhere to the 400mg or less per day recommendations to avoid problematic seizures.

  • I don't really see any side effects from tramadol. Taken alone, it doesn't help me either. But I have a good mixture of tramadol, cymbalta, mobic, and neurontin. My pain doc says this is a very successful combination, and every time I think it doesn't help, I stop taking it and have a quick reminder of how much it does help.

    So, no side effects for me, but moderate results.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • for 5 months and was very happy on it, could drive to work and function properly but it did keep me awake at night. then took them as normal one day and had the worse trip of my life,sweating, vertigo, palpitations,nervous about my surroundings, jumping every time someone talked to me or walked near me. NEVER AGAIN WILL I TAKE IT @)
  • I was first prescribed tramadol back in 1995 after my laminectomy. The doctors can't have been that aware of its potential interactions, as I was also prescribed pethidine (Demerol) and Prozac, two drugs that can be very dangerous taken with tramadol.

    I take it now for neuropathic pain, and it helps a little. When I first started taking it I noticed a mild stimulant effect and also a strange feeling of tightness around the mouth (I never figured out why that was). I don't really feel anything from it now. It definitely has a different 'feel' compared to other opioids. It is an opioid, strictly speaking, but not a typical one - it has a dual effect, working on both the mu opioid receptor and serotonergic and noradrenergic systems (in a similar way to certain antidepressants).

    I'm only taking about 150-200mg a day, and am considering stopping, as it doesn't help me very much now that my pain is getting more severe. I'm only taking it because my doctor won't prescribe anything stronger (they won't prescribe schedule 2 drugs here, even codeine or dihydrocodeine, unless a patient has terminal cancer - it's ridiculous).
  • I want to correct something that huggy said: "It is an opioid, strictly speaking, but not a typical one" It's actually not an opioid in that it is synthetic, made as an actor in the production of pain. It acts mildly on some of the receptors and can make your body think it's getting Abraham Lincoln, when in fact, it's getting Henry Fonda playing Lincoln. However, you can become dependent on it the same as a narcotic, and the withdrawals are just the same, so it's an extremely realistic production, and hard for your body to tell the difference.
  • Whether tramadol is synthetic or not is irrelevant: several widely used opioids are synthetic or semi-synthetic - oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc. - but they are still opioids. Being synthetic has no bearing on classification as an opioid, nor on analgesic efficacy.

    'Tramadol is often considered a weak opioid in contrast to the strong opioids morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. It is active at mu opioid receptors as well as enhancing central serotonergic and noradrenergic inhibition of pain. Although these additional actions are thought to enhance its analgesic effects, they may also be responsible for additional antimuscarinic adverse effects. Tramadol is around 5-8 times less potent than morphine (i.e. 50-80mg tramadol = 10mg morphine).'

    Source: 'Oxford Pain Management Library: Neuropathic Pain' - chapter 11: 'Opioids', pages 110-111 (edited by M. Bennett, Oxford University Press).
  • I guess there are just many different views on tramadol. This article from opioids.com actually has 2 views in the same paragraph "effects similar to.." and "at supratherapeutic doses was recognized as an..."

    "Although tramadol can produce drug dependence of the µ-opioid type (like codeine or dextropropoxyphene) and potentially may be abused, there has been little evidence of abuse in foreign clinical experience. In clinical trials, tramadol produced effects similar to an opioid, and at supratherapeutic doses was recognized as an opioid in subjective/behavioral studies."

    So, agree to disagree?
  • Certainly! I agree with you that there are a lot of different views regarding tramadol. I've seen a lot of downright confusing info on the internet on tramadol, some of it contradictory. I've read that it is an analogue of codeine, and also that it's related to trazodone. When I asked my doctor about this, he just shrugged and said it's a 'kind of opioid'.

    Most of the medical texts I've consulted class it with the opioids (a couple have a separate chapter for it). I think it's probably safest to say it's a unique drug with both opioid and non-opioid characteristics. One of the weird things about it is that while it has, in itself, very low affinity for opioid receptors, its main metabolite has much higher affinity.

    I heard that it's now a Schedule IV controlled substance in Kentucky - it'll be interesting to see if other states adopt this. Over here in Taiwan it is Schedule IV. It certainly doesn't appear to be the entirely safe analgesic it was touted as in the past. I've heard of lots of instances of problems with it, both in terms of dependence and potential for causing seizures (especially when combined with other drugs affecting serotonin). It's a bit of a messy drug, in my opinion.
  • subject looked familiar when I saw it!!! LOL, and to think, that my doc ended up prescribing Trazadone instead of Tramadol... not sure if she made a mistake or changed her mind in the end. Anyways, the trazadone didn't work for me. It kept me up at night, and didn't help at all. So, now, we're trying amitriptilyne (sp). So far, it has worked wonders for sleep, unless I'm having a super bad pain day, then I have to take something else to help with sleep. As for the pain, I'm not sure if it is helping or not, I'm thinking it's probably working like some people have mentioned about tramadol, they didn't think it was until they stopped taking it. I do have to take something else for pain to supplement it (flexiril and xstrength ibuprofen, and when really bad, I'll take the oxycodone) It's something I really don't want to test right now. The good news, is that I have finally got my appointment date to go see a pain specialist, so I'm looking forward to hearing what he can do for me.
    Thanks so much for all the input, it's been very informative!!!
    Warm wishes;
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Amitriptyline is an anti-depressant not a pain med exactly. Those type of anti-depressants are supposed to be good for treating neuralgia, or nerve pain. Until recently I was on a low dose of Nortriptyline for the same reason, but my doctor took me off it since we didn't think it was actually doing anything. I have an appt tomorrow and I think I will discuss going back on it since I'm not getting the pain relief that I should from MS Contin and it could be related to increased pain from removing the Nortriptyline.

    As for the tramadol, I can't take it because shortly after taking my dose I would get blinding headaches. The only thing I could do was lay down in a dark room until they passed hours later. It was horrible.
  • Yes, you're right, it is an anti-depressant (tricyclic) but is also prescribed for different types of pain and for sleep.
    I just wanted to share this, too, because I am truly amazed today. I normally take x-strength ibuprofen every day, to help with headaches, neck, back and leg pain. I take 2 about every 4 hours, and it barely touches my pain. I don't like taking narcotics (I am studying to be an addictions counsellor, and feel kind of hypocritical taking it, if you know what I mean), but do take the occasional oxycodone when I absolutely can't stand the pain, it's brutal when everything is hurting so bad, especially when it's everything all at once. Today was one of those days. I had a doctor's appointment, and she gave me some Tylenol Arthritis to try (we've been doing a lot of experimenting, if you haven't guessed from previous posts). I took two right away, and after an hour, my headache was at a tolerable level, and the stabbing pain behind my eye was gone (I have had a headache since my surgery in April, the intensity of it, and the stabbing pain just depends on the day) my neck pain was at a tolerable level, my back and hip pain is gone, and my leg and knee pain is at a tolerable level as well. I have not felt this good in - well, I can't remember. Even my boss said, when I returned from my appointment and lunch, that I looked almost like the old me (we worked together a few years ago before all this started)!!! Anyways, I just thought I'd put that out there, I do hope that taking this will maintain the pain levels that I'm at now, and maybe this might help someone else, too!!!
    Warm wishes, big hugs, and a little jig (because I actually feel like I could do one!!!) to all!!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • How great that it's working that way for you. I'm truly happy for you! >:D<
  • If I take it too late in the day it can keep me awake. Also I've noticed that when I take it I get RLS symptoms when I lie down for bed. I also get the same sensations in my arms like I just can't keep them in one place or get comfortable. It's very odd, but I can say that RLS is a pain to deal with. Doesn't happen all the time thankfully, but enough to be annoying.
  • Thanks Kat!! I do feel pretty good about things right now, I took one this morning, and another after work, and everything remained at a tolerable level, so I hope it keeps up like this!!
    Brandy, I hear you about RLS, it creeps up on me too, thank goodness not very often. It is so annoying when it is happening, isn't it? That's so wierd about your arm though, I wonder if it's a nerve thing with that?
    Warm wishes and hugs to all!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
Sign In or Register to comment.