Tramadol Addiction and Abuse
Tramadol, also known as tramadol hydrochloride, is used in the management of moderate to moderately severe pain, including back pain, post-surgery pain, arthritis and ongoing chronic pain. The drug is an opioid analgesic that works within the CNS to relieve pain.
A white, bitter, crystalline powder, Tramadol is most commonly available in tablet form – in both fast-acting and slow release formulations. The drug usually takes an hour to take effect, with its pain killing qualities peaking after two or three hours of ingestion.
Tramadol addiction and abuse is considered to have relatively low potential, but like many drugs, it is abused by those with a prior history of addiction. These may include those with other painkiller addictions, or addictions to alcohol. However, as a prescription drug, it also poses a threat to youths and adolescents, who are known to abuse prescription medication found within the home. Often used by older people by prescription, it also poses a risk here, with older people more at risk of serious side effects.
Tramadol remains part of the US painkiller epidemic, with Tramadol-related hospital visits jumping significantly between 2005 and 2011. These visits were associated with both adverse reactions to the drug, and also with Tramadol addiction side effects associated with misuse and abuse. Visits among young males rose significantly, but were higher among young women, indicating that young woman may be particularly at rise of misuse and abuse of the drug.
Common Street Names for Tramadol
Tramadol is the generic name for a drug that is marketed under names including Ryzolt, Ultram, Conzip, Ultram ER and Rybix ODT; ConZip, FusePaq Synapryn, and traMADol HCl.
Tramadol and its brand name versions have been placed under Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act. Drugs in this category are considered to have some but low potential for abuse. They have a recognized use in medical treatment, but have some potential to cause physical or psychological dependence.
History and Trends in Tramadol Addiction and Abuse
As painkillers go, Tramadol is a relatively new drug. It was first developed in 1962 in Germany, but wasn’t approved for use in the US until 1995, when it was given FDA approval under the name ULTRAM. While prescriptions have generally leveled off, in 2015, an increase in Tramadol-related hospital visits was recorded. This suggests that Tramadol addiction and abuse is still a cause for concern.
Side effects of Tramadol
Tramadol is an opioid painkiller that has a primary side effect of analgesia. However, it causes additional side effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, constipation and sweating, as well as reduced blood pressure. Tramadol differs from other opioids in that it does not reduce heart rate or respiratory rate.
The drug’s effects can be significantly increased when used in tandem with other opioids or with alcohol, causing a slowing down of the CNS and the respiratory system. Overdose may lead to a comatose state and even death. This is particularly a concern among older adults who may have an already compromised immune system, or those who have other co-existing addiction problems.
A relatively infrequent but very serious side effect of Tramadol is its ability to cause seizures. This can happen even if the drug is being taken according to the prescription, but is more likely to occur if taken at high doses, with other opioids or antidepressants, or if the individual already suffers from a seizure condition.
Withdrawal symptoms of Tramadol
Serious withdrawal symptoms are clear Tramadol addiction side effects, presenting when an individual suddenly stops taking the drug. The drug’s side effects are similar to those of other opioids, and include anxiety, sweating, insomnia, muscle pain, nausea, tremors and shakes, gastrointestinal issues, upper respiratory problems and hallucinations. Severe anxiety and panic attacks are also possible, as are seizures.
Medical advice recommends not to abruptly stop taking the medication, but to gradually reduce the prescribed amount. This is also true of mothers of infants, as infants may experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment for Tramadol Addiction and Abuse
While there is no accepted pharmaceutical approach to managing Tramadol addiction other than a gradual weaning off of the drug, residential detox programs can be effective in helping to free users of their dependence on the drug.
Structured detox programs, whether in-house or partial hospitalization-based, can help individuals to recover from their Tramadol addiction. Such programs offer rigorous counseling, management of withdrawal symptoms and physical dependency, and behavioral approaches that can prevent potential future relapse.
If someone you know is exhibiting Tramadol addiction and abuse side effects, get help now. Speak to us at White Sands Tampa about our Tramadol addiction programs today. 1-877-640-7820.