Medication:Tramadol (Ultram)
Tablet Strength:50 mg
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Tramadol (Ultram)

Tramadol is the generic name for ConZip, Ultram, Qdolo, and Ultram ER -a class of pain medicines prescribed to relieve moderate-to-severe pain. Tramadol is a synthetic opioid classified under Narcotic Analgesics, same as opioids. The drug is a strong pain medicine that is a tenth as potent as morphine.

Like most opioids, tramadol is habit-forming with significant abuse and addiction potential. Because of the risk of abuse, tramadol should only be considered when other forms of non-opioid pain medicines have failed to manage pain.

The different forms of Tramadol

Tramadol comes in different forms and packaging. How the drug is administered, and dosage schedule varies as well. Tramadol is available in capsules, tablets, chewable tables, Extended-release (ER) tablets, Extended-Release (ER) capsules, Suppositories, Effervescent tablets and powders, powders for compounding, et al. As such, tramadol can be administered orally, intravenously, intramuscularly, or rectally. When administered orally, tramadol has a characteristic ‘mildly bitter’ taste, much less bitter than morphine or codeine.

How Does Tramadol Work?

Tramadol, like most pain meds, targets the central nervous system, acting on optic receptors to inhibit pain signals. Tramadol suppresses the functionality of cyclo-oxygenase or COX enzyme involved in initiating pain and inflammation through a series of chemical reactions that starts with the catalysis of arachidonic acid. While interrupting the transmission of pain signals from the brain to the body, the drug also induces the production of feel-good neurotransmitters to confer pain and inflammatory relief.

Before Taking Tramadol

Tramadol is a prescription drug that should be taken as instructed by a medical doctor or a pharmacist. Do not take tramadol if;

  • You are allergic to it.
  • You are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or stopped taking them within the past 14 days.  
  • You are suicidal or at risk of addiction.
  • You suffer from severe asthma or occasionally experience difficulty in breathing
  • You have a bowel obstruction (blocked bowel –large or small intestines)  
  • You have taken alcoholic substances, sedatives, tranquilizers, other pain meds
  • You’ve had seizures in the past
  • You are breastfeeding since tramadol can cause difficulty in breathing, drowsiness, and confusion, among other unwanted symptoms in infants.
  • If you are scheduled for any kind of surgery including a dental procedure

How Should I Take Tramadol

Tramadol dosage varies for adults (between 18 and 64 years old), children (17 years and below), and seniors (65 years and above). Dosage also depends on the severity of the condition being treated, underlying medical conditions, and your reaction to the first dose of tramadol.

Tramadol, the generic drug comes in immediaterelease oral tablets with the strengths of 50 mg and 100 mg.

The extended-release oral tablet comes in the strengths of 100 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg. 

The brand, Ultram is only available in immediate-release oral tablet form of 50 mg.

Here’s how tramadol oral tablet should be taken for moderate-to-severe pain;

Adults (18-64 years)

Dosage for Immediate-Release Oral tablets

– Daily dose: 200 mg per day divided into 4 doses of 50 mg each.

– Dosage Increases: Dosage can be increased by 50 mg every 3 days

– Maintenance Dosage: 50 mg to 100 mg should be administered every 4 to 6 hours

– Maximum dosage: Should never exceed 400 mg per day.

Dosage for Extended-Release Oral Tablets

– Daily Dosage: 100 mg taken once a day

– Dosage increases: Dosage may be gradually increased by 100 mg every 5 days as needed

– Maximum daily dosage: 300 mg per day

  • Children (Below 17 years)

Dosage for Immediate-Release Oral Tablets 

– Daily Dosage: 200 mg per day divided into 4 doses of 50 mg each.

– Dosage Increases: Dosage can be increased by 50 mg every 3 days as needed

– Maintenance Dosage: 50 mg to 100 mg should be administered every 4 to 6 hours

– Maximum dosage: Should never exceed 400 mg per day.

Dosage for Extended-Release Oral Tablets

It has not been established if tramadol is safe for children below the age of 17.

  • Seniors (65 years and above)

The maximum dosage of immediate-release tramadol tablet should not exceed 300 mg/day. This is because as a person ages, their liver and kidney process the drug a bit slower and the person could be at risk of having the drug levels build up in their system exposing them to unwanted side effects.

IMPORTANT WARNING: If you have severe conditions of Kidney and Liver diseases, you should NOT take tramadol extended-release oral tablets.

However, 50-100 mg every 12 hours of immediate-release tramadol can be prescribed to a patient with Kidney disease, and only 50 mg every 12 hours to a patient with Liver disease. 

Tramadol Side Effects

Unfortunately, despite its medicinal benefits, 1 in 100 people experience the following side effects of tramadol.

  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Low energy
  • Headache
  • Slow Heart rate
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Light-headed feeling
  • Noisy breathing, et al.