Tramadol is a very effective man made pain killer which has comparatively fewer side effects and much lesser cost. Although it is not a narcotic, but it certainly has properties and effects like them. It acts on the same receptors as narcotics act.
Just like other opioids, Tramadol acts by blocking pain signals from the peripheral nerves to the brain. It also increases the effects of two neurotransmitters- serotonin and noradrenaline.
What are the downsides of Tramadol?
Patients suffering from chronic pain are often prescribed Tramadol, but they are often in dilemma regarding the safety of this drug. It is a blessing for a person who is suffering from chronic or severe pain. However, it is not free from adverse effects.
Tramadol abuse can cause addiction and can be used for misuse, which is a major downfall for this medicine. It can cause you dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, itching, drowsiness, sweating and in rare cases seizures. Just like any other drug, it also interacts with other drugs.
In fact, the records suggest that a number of people have died from Tramadol overdoses over the years. To summarize, it can cause more side effects amongst elders, children, and patients with kidney or liver disease.
How to use it safely?
- Although tramadol is safer than strong opioids, it is twice as strong as codeine. Therefore it is no surprise that overdoses are commonly occurring. It is advisable to strictly adhere to the dose prescribed by the doctor. Let’s see few points to keep in mind for the safe use of the drug.
- If you are taking alcohol, antidepressants, sedatives or another psychotropic drug, you better stay away from the med. Otherwise, it can seriously affect your breathing.
- Once you have been on the med for a long time, you cannot stop it suddenly. An abrupt termination of treatment may cause a withdrawal syndrome.
- It tends to lose its effect if it is taken for long durations. The researchers tell that only less than one-third of patients will have effective pain relief from this medication in the long period. This is a condition when patient tends to increase the dose by themselves to gain more benefit. But this is exactly how overdose can occur!
- If your pain is not being relieved, do not try to top up with painkillers which are available over the counter. You can contact your doctor for adjustment of dose.
- Another safe practice would be to take the tablet or capsule as a whole. Most of the preparations are designed to release a sustained low dose of the drug in the blood to maintain analgesic effect throughout the day. If you crush a tablet or open the capsule, the blood level of the drug may suddenly raise and cause side effects.
- By keeping these facts in mind, you can peacefully have a pain free life with this medication. The bottom line for safe use of this drug would be, “take just as prescribed and avoid alcohol”!