Tramadol is a prescription medication used to treat long-term moderate to severe pain. Patients should discuss their medical history with a doctor, as individuals with a certain conditions should not take this drug. Tramadol can impair mental and physical abilities and might cause a number of side effects.
Tramadol Hydrochloride is an oral pain reliever (analgesic), first manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal in the 1970s and now sold under a variety of different brand and generic names. Scientists do not fully understand how it works to relieve pain, and although it is not chemically an opioid (a drug related to morphine), it does act on the opioid receptors in the brain. Its use requires a doctor's prescription.
Doctors have prescribed Tramadol as part of a long-term strategy to manage moderate, severe and chronic pain in adults. It is not recommended for children under 16. Patients usually experience relief within one hour of administration.
Veterinarians have used Tramadol to treat pain resulting from surgery, injury and cancer in dogs and cats.
Tramadol also has been used to treat--and experiments are being conducted to investigate its potential use in treating--a number of other conditions, including fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, migraines, obsessive-compulsive disorder and premature ejaculation.
Patients who have shown adverse side effects to opioids, or who are already taking opioids, should not take Tramadol, as it may result in central nervous system and respiratory depression.
Patients taking Tramadol may experience an increased risk of seizure if they also are taking certain antidepressants (SSRIs that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin), other opiates and mono-amine oxidase inhibitors (MAOs). Patients with epilepsy, head trauma or a history of seizure are also at increased risk for this effect.
Patients who are allergic to codeine, another analgesic, should not take Tramadol, as they have been shown to experience similar allergic reactions to Tramadol.
Tramadol is classified as Pregnancy "Class C." Women who are pregnant or nursing should only take it if a doctor has determined that the benefits of pain management outweigh potential risks to the fetus or infant.
To acclimate the patient to Tramodol and test for adverse reactions, typical adult dosage begins at 25 milligrams, taken once daily in the morning. Doctors then increase the dosage to up to 200 mg daily, taken in four equal doses. If the patient responds well to treatment, doctors may recommend taking 50 to 100 mg every four to six hours as needed to relieve severe and chronic pain. The maximum daily recommended dosage is 400 mg and may be lower for the elderly, and those with kidney problems or cirrhosis of the liver.
Patients who wish to stop taking Tramadol should ease off the drug, reducing their dosage slowly over time.
Tramadol use has resulted in seizures. It may cause a serious allergic reactions, including death, and also may result in hives, angioedema (swelling of the throat, face or mouth) and breathing irregularities.
Patients who abruptly stop taking Tramadol have experienced withdrawal symptoms that include insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, sweating and pain.
Tramadol may cause drowsiness and dizziness and can impair judgment, coordination and the ability to perform mental tasks. Patients should not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this drug. The use of alcohol, other pain relievers (especially opiates), hypnotics and tranquilizers can amplify the effects of Tramadol and further impair mental and physical abilities.
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