Can You Get Addicted to Tramadol?

Can you get addicted to Tramadol? Tramadol (or Ultram) can be habit-forming for many people. So, yes, you can get addicted to it if you’re not careful. Keep reading to find out many important details.

Tramadol, often sold under the brand name Ultram, is an opioid pain medication usually used to treat moderate pain. It is often prescribed for patients with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. Tramadol has a different pharmacological profile than most addictive pain medications. This is the cause of many misunderstandings about the drug’s potential for dependency and abuse. In fact, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved it, they did not classify it as an opioid. In 2014, The FDA reconsidered this classification and designated Tramadol as an opioid and a controlled substance. (1)

In addition, Tramadol also acts as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). This second quality resembles the action of many popular antidepressants. It is also why physicians don’t recommend Tramadol for patients who already take an SNRI or a  (SSRI) as it can lead to dangerous interactions.

Can You Get Addicted to Tramadol?

The DEA classifies Tramadol as a Schedule IV drug. This means it has less potential for abuse than other semi-synthetic opioid pain medications  that contain hydrocodone or oxycodone. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that Tramadol use is without risk for dependence or that people do not abuse it. (2)

The fact is, taken as prescribed it may be safer than some other narcotic pain medications. But it can create some physical dependence as do all opioid compounds. Whether you are prescribed Tramadol or you have taken it recreationally, you should understand that abruptly quitting may lead to withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings, much like any other opioid. (2) Furthermore, if you are taking it without a prescription you may be putting yourself at risk of a seizure or other serious reaction with other medications.

Tramadol Abuse

Instances of Tramadol abuse are well-documented. However, your physician may not be aware of this or what your history is. It is important to be honest with your doctor if you have any history of alcohol or drug dependence as well as letting them know about any other medications or supplements you are taking if Tramadol may be prescribed to you. Reduced risk of dependency does not mean there is no risk. Abruptly quitting Tramadol after a period of consistent use can lead to withdrawal symptoms that include anxiety, panic attacks, profuse sweating, insomnia, chills, nausea and diarrhea. The fact that Tramadol acts similar to an antidepressant can further complicate these effects.

The purpose of all this information is not to alarm you, but simply to encourage you to remain informed. When taken as prescribed by a doctor with a full knowledge of your medical history, Tramadol can be safe and effective. However, any person with a history of substance use disorder should be especially wary of any controlled substance, including Tramadol. If believe you or someone you care about is abusing Tramadol and/or dependent on it, give us a call. We will be happy to discuss the options for treatment and care.



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