Medication prescribed for a variety of conditions, from pain management to other medical conditions is often subject to abuse. Prescription drugs, especially narcotic pain medicines tend to be addictive and often, patients do not realize that they have become addicted to the medicine until it becomes a problem.
On the other hand, abuse of prescription drugs, in which people knowingly use prescription medication for purposes the drugs are not intended for, is a growing problem. Ultram is one of the drugs that are often abused.
For some time, medics considered ultram (of of the brand names for tramadol) safe because they thought its effects as a narcotic were weak and therefore, unlikely to result in abuse and addiction. Ultram statistics from research however, reveal that more cases are reported of people with addiction to the drug and that the drug has a higher potential for abuse than previously thought.
The Food and Drug Administration says that between 1995 and 2004, it received reports of about 766 cases abuse of tramadol and about 482 cases of withdrawal symptoms from the drug. It further adds that this numbers could be much higher because many more addiction cases go unreported.
Addiction is especially more likely among people with history of chronic pain, previous problems with addition to illegal drugs or alcohol and health professionals. This is because of its composition and working that is has been established to be similar to morphine.
Ultram is an analgesic used in treating moderate to moderately severe pain. Once administered, the extended release type of tramadol is released slowly into the bloodstream over a longer period and is typically used in treating chronic pain in adults needing prolonged treatment.
Because it is considered to have low potential for abuse, ultram is not listed as a controlled substance in some states in the US. Although it is an opioid that works more or less like morphine and other narcotic analgesics, ultram is considered to have less potential for abuse when compared to drugs such as oxycodone and other similar drugs.
A common misconception is that prescription drugs are safe to use for recreation because they are not illegal. Those who abuse prescription drugs do not realize that these medicines are made for specific medical conditions and to be effective, should be used correctly under the direction of a physician.
A synthetic analgesic, ultram is an opioid that works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, helping with management of pain and producing feelings of well being in patients. Because the effects of this drug are less intense when compared to other opioids like morphine, ultram is legally not considered a narcotic even though it is addictive.
Sometimes, patients may get hooked on ultram unintentionally when they use the drug over a long period to treat chronic health conditions. Others may abuse the drug by obtaining it illegally and using it wrongly such as exceeding the recommended dosage or taking it more than the required times in a day.
Other indicators of ultram addiction include needing more supplies and constantly thinking about how and where to get the drug, doctor shopping (getting prescriptions from different doctors), using other people's prescriptions or finishing and needing to get new prescriptions sooner.
Ultram can cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to tramadol. When used along with other drugs, interactions may easily occur. For example, ultram tends to reduce the effect of medication used in treating depression and increases that of the medication used for the heart rate.
The drug may also trigger seizures in people who suffer from epilepsy or cause a relapse in people who have previously been addicted to narcotic drugs or alcohol. Combining ultram with alcohol and other substances that affect the central nervous system may cause respiratory depression, which can lead to problems with breathing.
The risk of overdosing on a drug is always high among people who are addicted to it as they progressively develop tolerance. Overdosing on ultram can be dangerous, with symptoms such as shallow breathing and slow heart beat, muscle weakness, extreme drowsiness and fainting, seizure and cold, clammy skin. Emergency and long-term treatment programs help patients to deal with the problem and to remain free of addiction.