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Tramadol [Ultram] Good or bad??

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I was recently prescribed Tramadol MR [Ultram in the US?]by my doctor - I was taking 100mg a day for a week and it worked - however I felt I was getting addicted [pain avoidance is a very strong incentive!]and came off them [with some nasty withdrawal symptoms]because I'd read horror stories about it's side effects [depression, increased pain, dependence]. Thing is, I'm of work at the moment waiting to see a specialist for an epidural and it's about the only thing that keeps me pain free, so I'm thinking of going back on it. I'm also worried that it'll mask my DDD symptoms and I'll do more damage.
I'd be interested to hear about other people's experiences with opioid based pain meds


  • I took Ultram yrs ago and it really helped my back pain but it finally started messing with my stomach so I had to stop taking it. I was sick about it since it was the first med to really help with the pain. I went through 7 yrs of pain before my fusion and I know how you must feel. If the Ultram helps you I would take it and not think about any effects of taking it. If it helps you return to a normal quality of life than it was worth it. I felt this way about my pain pills that I couldn't do without before my fusions. I didn't know if I would ever get off the pain meds but I did finally wean off of them. Good Luck!

  • Thanks for the advice - yeah I've tried to tough it out but sometimes I just can't cope [I've had this shizz for over 15 years now and it's more on than off these days]. Quality of life vs side effects and addiction....not much of a choice is there? Hopefully when I get my injection or whatever the surgeons offer me things will improve and I'll be able to wean myself off it.
  • It did nothing but eat my stomach up! To me it was like taking a extra strengh tylenol.........but if you need meds you need meds I have never heard of anyone getting hooked on Ultram or Tramadol only on the stronger opiads like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin etc.I think your body will tell you if you are doing too much~ but always ask your docotorimage
  • I tried the Ultram a couple of years ago and it was like taking Tylenol for me also. I didn't take it for very long though. My doctor switched me to something else for pain. I didn't know you would have withdrawals from it. I did learn in nursing school that you can become addicted to having a Tylenol every day- your mind works wonders, doesn't it!?

    I totally agree with you, pain avoidance is a huge motivation!
  • I would never take tramadol......
  • Tramadol personally has been the only prescription that has ever made me nauseated. Although it technically is an opioid agonist (binds to opioid receptors) and does have some risk for physical and psychological dependence, it is much lower than the other opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycontin, morphine etc.
  • I take Ultram because it is the only pain med my family doctor will prescribe me. Hopefully, that will change after my NS appointment for my neck next week.

    For me, it seems to take about 30 minutes to start feeling it in my system; what little I feel it. It barely touches the pain, but it is better than nothing. And, once it's in my system, I might have benefit for 1 hour - 1.5 hours.

    Have told my Doc for 3 years, repeatedly that I need something additional and/or different.

    She told me once that it would be okay to take 2 Ultrams at a time. The problem with that is it makes me dizzy, which in turn makes me nauseous, and for no more pain relief that I get from it, it isn't worth the extra aggravation. And, I have Meneire's disease so I don't want any additional periods of unnessary dizziness caused by a med. Plus, it's hard for me to take it and work due to dizzy/nauseous effects.

    I hope you have better results with Ultram that I do.

  • Why are you so against Tramadol?
  • It was just my opinion......not against it,just saying it wouldnt work for me....
  • I took it for a time before I had my hip replacement due to osteoarthritis. My pain from DDD is too great for it to make much difference now, though.

    I (along with hubby) noticed it made me a lot more forgetful!

    I was prescribed Promethazine Oral (Phenergan)to help with the dizziness and nausea caused by my pain meds and it really did the trick!

  • Phenergan also helps boost pain medicine a bit!!
  • Tramadol/Ultram worked fairly well for my DDD and herniated disc pain, but I could only take it for about 3 days before I began to feel depressed. It also gave me insomnia and made me itch like crazy at night, so I stopped taking it after a couple of tries. I'm without pain meds during the day right now and take a Darvocet and a muscle relaxer at night. If Tramadol works for you without the side effects, I would say take it as needed if that is what your doctor is recommending.

  • You must have pain relief to get on with your life, and if you have to have Tramadol or whatever else works, then go for it.
    i understand your fear of addiction, but there is physical addiction and psychological addiction.
    Psychological addiction is what you would get from street drugs, for instance.
    Physical addiction is when your body needs the drugs to get by on a daily basis, and you don't get any psychological high, just pain relief.
    If that is your lot, then so what?
    I've had to think it through too, as I always wanted to minimise any medication. But I've now realised that i just have to have it. The alternative is not worth considering.
    I have read recently that this fear of addiction is stopping GP's from adequately treating pain, yet the risk with people in severe pain is very slight.
    So a lot of people are being under medicated through irrational thought.
    This can be a hard one to get your head around, but you may find some good discussions on the internet.
    Good luck.
    I have been on Tramadol for a few years now, and it works well for me most times. Keeps me awake though.
  • I feel lucky that I have a pain management guy who believes me about my pain levels and I don't have to beg him to prescribe meds that will provide me relief.

    I do have to sign a pain contract, though, that I won't abuse them or do sneaky things to get more.

  • My doctor put me on Tramadol about a week ago after letting me know I have major neck surgery coming up. I'm not sure what all they will be doing. I know that I have DDD and nerve impingement involving c3 thru c7. The c3 and c4 sections aren't as bad.

    My doctor also increased my Lyrica (I'd been taking that for diabetes) to 100 mg 3x a day.

    So far I don't really notice the Tramadol doing anything. It might be. If I do much with my left arm espcially I have lots of pain (I'm left handed). My right arm hurts to tho, just not as much.

    Ken GreyEagle
  • This is an extended-release version of Ultram/Tramadol. I've used it in the past with Phenergan (anti-nausea) to manage my pain. Only need to take it once a day & releases 50mg every 8 hrs. Currently I'm on a 12mig Fentanyl patch. I like the convenience of replacing a patch every 3 days vs. oral meds. But I would need to take much more potent strengths that I cannot tolerate to get my pain to an acceptable level.
  • Thanks for the advice everyone.... I'm trying to just take 100mg only when the pain kicks in really badly or in the morning [along with an anti inflammatory]- it does work for me - I get 8 or more hours relief can sleep and don't feel too bad. For someone like me who likes a drink now and again it's meant I've had to abstain if I'm on them but this is no big deal.
  • I started taking Tramadol ,50mg every 8-hours it really helps with my disc pain,but does nothing for my nerve pain.i have taken 100,mg every 8-hours,i did notice when i did,i would make my skin itch all the time.
    Robert B)
  • I have taken ultram for 8 or 9 years i take two 50mg in am and 2 more in afternoon when i first took it many years ago it made me itch alot the doc told me to hang in their and the itching would stop i remember i would cut the pill in half and spread it through the day well itching did stop.and i have never stopped taking it. i can not take it after 2pm because it gives me energy and it will keep me up during night. i dont need that because i have a terrible time sleeping as it is, it does help with my pain,i have tried waiting and not taking it in AM and see if just moving around might ease the pain sum and thats not ever worked ill take 2 ultram and about 15 min i feel it start to work even after years of taking it
  • Benedryl worked for me with the itching. Never had the problem with Tramadol but I did with the opiates. Hope you get some relief.
  • phenergran is promethazine!. And the results with tramadol are mixed. I personally took the Tramadol ER300 for a couple weeks and it helped the pain maybe one point lower
  • I just started taking this drug and, it is working pretty well so far. I have noticed that my ddd pain is not as bad.

    In 2005 I had an L4S-L5S1 microdiscectomy.
  • i also was prescribed tramadol,and working in a pharmacy i know the side effects but pain was so bad i had to take them. im glad i did. i take 2 50mg tablets every 4 hours, max 8 in a day and ive been able to carry on working full time and driving with no side effects. hopefully i wont need them for long but wouldnt have been able to carry on without them. we are all different, best to try different things if doc is willing to offer them. @)
  • I'm currently taking Tramadol, and lemme tell you!! I've never felt so crappy! They had to up my dosage because it wasn't blocking out the pain anymore. Every morning I wake up feeling like I have a hangover, when I don't take it I get the shakes, cold sweats...I feel sick to my stomach and just ache everywhere. I'm also on Celebrex and Tizanidine (Zanaflex). It might be the combo, but my poor stomach has had it.

    I know my Aunt who's currently going to school for her Ph.D in medicine or something similiar has told me to look into alternative medicines. I'm still learning what that means.
  • Tramadol/Ultram is not a narcotic. I asked My NS for something that's not addictive and she prescribed Ultram. Since My surgery is Monday and Ultram thins your blood, she prescribed Me Darvocet.
  • JGrillot said:
    Tramadol/Ultram is not a narcotic. I asked My NS for something that's not addictive and she prescribed Ultram. Since My surgery is Monday and Ultram thins your blood, she prescribed Me Darvocet.

    Where did you hear that Ultram "thins your blood"? Ultram does NOT contain acetaminophen...only Ultracet does. Can't see where Ultram would thin the blood. I could be wrong, but I have never heard of that being an issue with Ultram. And FWIW, Ultram is known to have addictive properties linked to it. It's a synthetic opiate, and therefore has many of the same qualities that true opiates have. I became dependent on Ultram, and experienced terrible withdrawal symptoms when I came off the drug.
  • Knocks me out. I'm pretty easily looped though. In the beginning of all of this, before MRI, they thought it might be muscle spasms. Flexerill and Ultram were given. ha ha ha

    I took 1/4 of each and felt like a pile of Jello. No kidding. 1/2 of each and I was out. I tried taking one or the other and the side effects were not as intense but still very out of it for me.
  • I have to say Tramadol is my wonder drug. It's funny to see how a drug can affect everyone differently. I can take Vicodin and it does nothing for me. When I take Tramadol, it takes my pain away, improves my mood, helps me sleep better, etc. I don't take it everyday, but at least 2-3 times a week. I also like how long it lasts, a good 8 to 10 hours of relief.
  • All it did for me was tear my stomach up...I lost 6 lbs just because I couldn't keep anything in my stomach and it didn't even touch my pain. I wish you success with it!
  • I've been on Tramadol for some years and am addicted to it. I take 200 - 300mg a day and without it would not be able to work or do most other things - before it I hardly got any sleep and was slowly slipping into terminal exhaustion as well as taking vast amounts of paracetomol and Ibuprofen. My injury is inoperable, so I'll always need painkillers, so the addiction aspect is actually not a problem (as long as I make sure I never run out!). I'd like to shake the hands of the folks who developed Tramodol! I find if Ii have a particularly bad spell and have to up my does to 200 at night, it can cause sleep "disturbances" (really wierd nightmares, itching, being hot etc), but like I say, without it, I would be in constant pain and unable to function anywhere near the level I can now.
    I definitely would not recommend it as a short term medication as I've heard several tales of people on it a couple of months or more, then suffering withdrawal when stopping it (or else they should maybe get a properly phased withdrawal), and I know people who could not get past the initial stages of taking it. I remember at first, a good 2-3 weeks of feeling a bit woozy and a strange "detached" sensation. However, now I feel perfectly normal on it of course.
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