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Tramadol Side Effects – Facts You Ought to Know How to Avoid Them

Tramadol is typically prescribed to individuals who suffer from moderate to severe pain.  It is most commonly known as the generic name of Ultram. Tramadol’s mode of action is not exactly known; however, most claim that it works just like morphine (one of the most potent and most significant “analgesics” or painkillers known to man). While tramadol is a something that a lot of people would consider heaven sent for their body pain problems, just like any other type of medicine, you need to be aware of some things about tramadol, especially its possible side effects.  Listed below are a few important facts you ought to know about this medicine so that you can avoid being afflicted with any tramadol side effects.

Tramadol relieves moderate to moderately severe pain, but it is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID.

While a lot of people mistakenly assume that tramadol is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), the truth is, tramadol is actually a type of opiate agonist.  An agonist is an agent that binds to a receptor and “stimulates activity” to that receptor in the CNS (central nervous system) in order to bring out a certain effect.  In simpler terms, opiate agonists are those drugs which imitate the effects of naturally-existing endorphins in the body by means of producing an opiate effect via interacting with the opioid receptor sites.  Therefore, tramadol simply works by means of changing the way how the body senses pain.

Some of the most common (yet tolerable) tramadol side effects include constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, vomiting.  Some less common tramadol side effects include diarrhea, dry mouth, itchiness, rash breakouts, sweating, and vertigo.  There are even some patients who, after taking tramadol, have unfortunately developed seizures or convulsions.

While tramadol is usually prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain, it may help you out tremendously when you most need it; however, never take more than the prescribed dose as its benefits may outweigh the risks in case you overdose yourself.  Signs and symptoms that you will experience during a tramadol overdose include difficulty breathing, decreased pupil size, drowsiness or difficulty staying awake, becoming unconscious, potential heart attack, seizure attacks, coma, or even death.  If you think you are feeling any of these while under tramadol medication, call your local poison control center or 911.

When you are taking tramadol to relieve your pain, you have to be aware that it can have adverse effects when you take tramadol with other drugs or agents.  For instance, you may experience breathing difficulty or cessation of breathing if tramadol is taken along with other drugs such as narcotics, anesthetics, sedatives, tranquilizers, or even alcohol.

Potential outcomes when tramadol is taken with the following drugs:

Quinidine – increases tramadol concentration by 50% or more.

Carbamazepine – decreases the pain-relieving effect of tramadol.


SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors – increases the occurrence of seizures and even serotonin syndrome with evident symptoms such as headache, anxiety and increased blood pressure.

If you are prescribed tramadol, then always remember that the following drugs are not safe to be taken concomitantly with tramadol: carbamazepine, digoxin, erythromycin, ketoconazole, quinidine, St. John’s wort, and rifampin.