have a question about Tramadol (hope I am spelling it right)

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Date Joined Mar 2011
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   Posted 5/15/2011 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I dont know how this happened, but I have never heard of tramadol (hope spelling is correct).  Is it a narcotic medicine?  I thought in all these years I had heard of every medicine out there, but clearly I have not.  I have noticed in many postings this medicine is mentioned, just wondering what it is, and how effective it is.
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

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   Posted 5/15/2011 7:33 PM (GMT -6)   
It is not classified as a narcotic but it is somehow related to codiene. However, I cannot take more than 10 mgs of codiene in 24 hours if I want to stay conscious (20mgs if I Want to be unconscious for a while) and I don't have a problem with tramadol.
It works for me but obviously I am neive to narcotics-people with a history of taking narcotics may not have as large an effect from the tramadol.

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   Posted 5/15/2011 7:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Just to clarify-not classified as a narcotic- what I ment by that is that the US DEA doesn't have it classified as a controlled substance.
It is metabolized differently from codiene-doesn't metabolize to morphine.
It also has some antidepressent effects.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
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   Posted 5/15/2011 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
From what I understand to see it used as a first-line type medication, meaning its used before narcotic medications are really used. Maybe besides vicodin or low dose percocet, but all percocet is realyl low dose. For me this would never work as I take 90 mg of oxycontin 3 times a day and 30mg oxycodone 8 times a day, so this wouldnt help me at all. But alot of people see relief with this, I'm assuming they havent been on or atleast much of narcotic type medications.

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   Posted 5/15/2011 8:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi - tramadol is an opioid - so it works on the same sort of receptor types as morphine, codeine, etc., but as sjkly said it's not classified as a narcotic. It does also have antidepressant effects through release of serotonin.

Another interesting characteristic of tramadol is that it's though to be a weak NMDA-receptor antagonist (ketamine is a strong antagonist), which gives it some value in treating neuropathic pain in some people.

CRPS since 1999, diagnosed in 2005 and since spread to full body, spasms, dystonia & contractures, gastroparesis, orthostatic hypotension, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome.

On Oxycontin/Endone, Topamax, Mobic, Magnesium, Florinef, Somac, Cipramil. Have a spinal cord stimulator, intrathecal pump with baclofen & bupivacaine and doing physio.

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   Posted 5/15/2011 11:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I was put on tramadol a couple of times but was taken off of it by my pcp because it doesn't go well with my antidepressant. If you take an antidepressant you could get a reaction between it and tramadol. I take 50mcg Fentanyl patch and 5mg oxycodone three times a day, and tramadol doesn't work for me either. I think the others have explained tramadol really well. I hope we have helped you to understand what it is now.

love and hugs
Dx: osteoarthritis, bursitis in left hip, Osteoarthrits in right hip, compression fracture in thoracic spine due to falling on frozen ground March 2001 , ddd, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, osteoarthritis in spine, osteoarthritis in both knees
Meds: Fentanyl patch, oxycodone, otc: BenGay, Tylenol Arthritis on occasion

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 220
   Posted 5/16/2011 12:20 AM (GMT -6)   
IT IS a controlled substance depending on where you are. Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas come to mind.

Post Edited By Moderator (Screaming Eagle) : 5/15/2011 11:46:25 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
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   Posted 5/16/2011 6:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for the very interesting answers I received concerning tramadol.
I can only quess that when I was first prescriped any meds for my original injury in 1989, my gp started me off with vicodin es.  From there I only cllimbed up the narcotic ladder.  Off and on thru the first years of my injury, I had been prescribed anti-depressants.  I never found any of them helpful, but I think that is because I never gave them a chance.  One of my problems, is I want immediate relief, no matter what I am taking.
At any rate 11+ years later, I no longer want to try any anti-depressant, as I have worked my way slowly back to what is now normal to me.  This took along time and some very hard work on my part, but I finally had to accept that the life I once had was not going to come back.  I then began to rebuild my life according to my limitations.
That was the hard part, and actually I am still a work in progress.
So thank you everyone, as usual the help I needs is at my fingertips (ok sorry about the pun). So before I start rambling on. 
Hoping all are having low pain days today and everyday.
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 5/16/2011 7:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Prior poster is right-some states have scheduled Tramadol as a controlled substance-the federal government has not yet done so and it is not controlled where I live.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 5/16/2011 8:02 AM (GMT -6)   
I take Tramadol and it has worked well for the pain I have with RA so far. I was only on MO, APAP, Vicodin and topicals before, and chasing pain rather than pretreating it. Now I take tramadol daily (still in the increasing mode) plus occasional MO and topicals. Pain is not gone, and still trying to find the right dose, but it has cirtenly helped a lot. I also take an antidepressant and we have had to be REALLY careful about taking them both. Tramadol messes with the seritonin levels, so coupled with an antidepressent like cymbalta it can cause seritonin syndrome. (not good) Just to give you an idea of the process, it took 4 days for me to see any diffrence at all, and 2 increases for me to be at any functuioning level. I have increased 4 times and am not yet happy with my daily pain level, but have complicating factors too.
I have started and stopped many meds and say wait 2 weeks to give whatever doce you are at a chance to get in the system fully, and 12 weeks before giving up the drug as not going to work. anything less is not giving it a chance. (my opinion)
Treatments: gluten-free diet, Cpap
Medications: omeprazole, probiotic caps; multi-vitamin supplement; docusate sodium, fiber chews; zertec, ferrous sulfate, cymbalta, lamotrigine, ambien, alprazolam, plaquinil, sulfasalazine, methotrexate, leucovorin calicium, folic acid, motrin, tramadol, pennsaid, aspercream, nasonex, albuterol sulfate inhaler

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Date Joined Oct 2009
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   Posted 5/16/2011 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Tramadol works well for my fibromyalgia muscle pain, also elevates my mood, so I don't need an antidepressant. It doesn't help much with bone pain or my sinus pain and headaches. I do get relief from my osteoarthritis spine pain and pinched nerve pain, but not the nerve stabs in my feet that come from the spine.

When your PCP took you off the tramadol, he could have just taken away the antidepressant or reduced the dose instead.

I tried ALL the fibro meds, and tramadol is by far the safest and best for me. Some people though, are allergic or intolerant to it, and taking it with anything that increases serotonin, like Flexeril, gives me serotonin syndrome. I don't dare take it within 12 hours of taking vicodin.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 5/16/2011 1:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Tramadol is not a controlled substance here. You need a regular prescription.
I have bad reactions to all the opioids I have tried. Doc wanted me to try Tramadol as it is a synthetic. But had horrible reactions to it.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 5/17/2011 10:10 AM (GMT -6)   

What is serotonine syndrome?


Screaming Eagle
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Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 5/17/2011 10:33 AM (GMT -6)   


  Morning Blondie!

       Hope this helps!


      SE wink

Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 5/17/2011 10:56 AM (GMT -6)   
I just want to say that while one of the most wonderful thing about these boards is getting the great support about what it's like to live with chronic pain...

The word of caution to the OP (not just you...but anyone on the board) is in asking others how 'effective' a medicine is...

Everyone is in a different place in their cp life...some of us have been on our medicines for 10 years plus...and it's taken all those years to get to the strongest medicines some of us are on...

As well as everyone has different tolerance levels...levels of pain...different pain that require different meds...gastro issues that may effect the absorption rate...etc...etc....

We are all as different as there are snowflakes!! LOL...

I think that sometimes (again...not saying this post per say but in general) people can read that a medicine.."did nothing for my pain'....or say..."That is such a weak med it's like taking a tic tac"....etc....and can cause some people to have a psychological response to this and automatically think.."well then this won't work for me it will be too weak"...

Just throwing out my thoughts as I think this site does a REALLY great job of trying to not have this happen...and people recommend that a medicine choice should ALWAYS be between the patient and the Dr.

Now that I'm done being the caution girl...LOL...

I think the information about Serotonin Syndrome is important to read for anyone taking or considering taking this medicine while on an antidepressant...

For me...Tramadol is a very good medicine and worked well...

Nini...on your last post you said you never gave your meds a chance and wanted them to work immediately and take all the pain away...

My PM Dr. always recommends using a new medicine for an entire 30 days (unless there are extreme allergic reactions that require ER attention)...because not only do lots of medicines take time to build up in our system....but it takes that amount of time to get used to the side effects that can happen...

Too many people give up too quickly because of some nausea or fatigue...when a lot of this will go away after a few weeks...

Keep in mind that EVERY single medicine we take has side effects....it's a trade off that we have to work with ourselves and our Dr. on the pros/cons..

So hopefully you can speak with your Dr. at your next appt. to see if Tramadol would be a good choice for you in trying to help with your pain..

Good luck Nini!
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