Tramadol, commonly known as Ultram is an unusual opioid. It is considered as a synthetic agent that appears to have effects on the noradrenergic, GABAergic and serotonergic systems. For that reason, it is used as a major analgesic to treat pain (moderate to severe). It is usually marketed by the manufacturers as a hydrochloride salt. Ultram is available in both oral and injectable forms. It is also being sold in conjunction with most common painkiller, paracetamol. Although physicians widely prescribe Ultram as a substantially less addictive alternative to medicines like Oxycontin and Vicodin, thousands of people have developed an addiction to this drug. The presence of such a large number of Ultram addicts is an indication of abuse risks of this prescribed medication.
Ultram is primarily prescribed only for moderately severe pain. The extended release Ultram tablets are primarily utilized by those patients who need medication around the clock for pain relief for a long period of time. This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as opiate agonists. As pain relief is the basic purpose of its usage, it changes the way our body senses pain. Most physicians prefer the tablet version of Ultram for their patients. For one thing, it is easier to swallow. A normal dosage of Ultram tablet is usually taken every 4 to 6 hours according to the patient's need. It can be taken with or without food. On the other hand, an extended release tablet must not be taken more than once a day. A traditional oral dosage of Ultram range from 50 to 400mg daily, with approximately 600mg everyday when given IV/IM. The formulation of Ultram containing APAP consists of 325mg of paracetamol and 37.5mg of Tramadol and is intended for oral use only. Although final prescription is solely decided by the physician, the common dosage recommendation is 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours.
More than 766 cases of Ultram addiction had been reported to FDA from 1999 to 2004. This drug is commonly being abused by chronic pain patients, narcotic addicts and health professionals. Tramadol can be about ten percent as powerful as morphine when given by IV/IM route. It is in fact a potent, habit forming medication. Presently, U.S. DEA has not schedules it, unlike other analgesics containing opioid. However, Ultram's prescription information very clearly warns about the psychological and physical addiction/dependence induced by the drug. Furthermore, there are a number of people who have reported that the withdrawal process has been extremely difficult for them. A controlled study was conducted, and it compared different prescribed drugs that were being abused by patients at least once in a year. The results are as follows:
Taking a higher dosage of Ultram than what your physician prescribed might cause severe side effects, even death in some cases.
The three most commonly reported side effects or drug reactions include vomiting, nausea and sweating. Although drowsiness is not a big issue as with other opioid drugs, it still is reported by many individuals. Respiratory depression is very common adverse reaction caused by drugs containing opioid, but Ultram users, who are taking normal doses, are least likely to experience it. Serious possible consequences that an over dosage of Ultram might cause include lethargy, depression, seizure, cardiac arrest, coma and death. Deaths have been reported in association with unintentional as well as intentional overdose of Ultram.
Regular use of Ultram can also induce physical and psychic dependence of morphine-type opioid drugs. It has also been witnesses that abuse and dependence, such as taking illicit actions in order to obtain drugs and drug seeking behavior are not limited to casual drug users. Patients with no prior opioid addition are also abusing Ultram. The risk of being affected by adverse side effects of Ultram is much higher in patients with drug abuse. This prescription medication is associated with tolerance development and craving. It is not advisable to discontinue its usage abruptly, because the withdrawal symptoms are much worse in such case. These symptoms can easily be relieved through reinstitution of Ultram withdrawal therapy followed by a tapered, gradual dose reduction. Symptomatic support can also help a lot. To guarantee no repetition of addiction or abuse, detox is a good option in addition to drug treatment therapy.