Tramadol is a controlled substance and should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision. It can cause misuse, addiction and overdose. It can also interact with certain medications and vitamins. Always tell your doctor about all the prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), herbal and dietary supplements you take.

This medication may slow or stop breathing and can be habit-forming. It can increase the risk of seizures in people with seizure disorders.

How to Get a Prescription

If you’re experiencing back or neck pain, your doctor may prescribe medication to help alleviate it. These medicines include opioids, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and other types of medications. The type of drug your doctor prescribes will depend on the severity of your pain, how long you’ve been experiencing it and your response to previous treatments.

Tramadol is an opioid pain reliever that works by binding to receptors in your brain and nervous system to reduce the sensation of pain. It is available in two forms: immediate-release and extended-release. You take them orally, usually every 4 to 6 hours. It is also available in a combination tablet with paracetamol. If you’re taking tramadol for chronic (long-term) pain, your doctor will likely switch you to a different pain reliever after some time to prevent dependency and tolerance.

Opioids can have side effects, including constipation, drowsiness and stomach upset. In addition, they can increase your risk of breathing problems and addiction. You can get a prescription for this drug through your doctor or a pain clinic. It is important to tell your doctor about all of the medications you’re taking and any health conditions you have.

Your doctor will likely check your blood pressure and heart rate regularly while you’re taking this medication. You should also tell your doctor if you have any allergies or sensitivities. This medication can interact with other drugs or alcohol. This can cause high or low levels of the drug in your body and can lead to serious side effects or a lack of pain relief. You should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or using other sedatives, hypnotics or tranquilizers while you’re on this medication.

You should also ask your doctor about getting naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose of opioid medicines like tramadol. This is especially important if you or someone in your household uses illegal drugs, as they can often contain ingredients that interact with this medicine. You can find this medication under the brand name Narcan or Zimhi. It’s a good idea to keep this medication in your home and have it on hand if you ever experience or witness an overdose.

Forms of Tramadol

Tramadol is a prescription medication that works on opioid receptors in the brain to decrease feelings of pain. It is not usually prescribed for chronic (long-term) pain and should only be used as a last resort when other non-opioid forms of pain relief have been tried and have failed. It can be taken as a tablet, solution or extended-release capsule to be taken by mouth. The tablet and solution are typically taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed, while the extended-release capsules should be taken once per day. Some products also come in a combination product with other pain medicines, such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs. It is important to take tramadol exactly as prescribed by your doctor to avoid serious side effects. Never increase your dose, take it more often or for a longer period of time than recommended. This medication may be addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly.

Your doctor will probably also prescribe a medicine called naloxone to be kept with you at all times, in case you experience an overdose. This is a drug that reverses the effects of opioids and can keep you breathing until emergency medical help arrives. Your doctor should tell you where to get naloxone and how to use it.

You should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this medication. It can cause dizziness, drowsiness and blurred vision. This can increase the risk of accidents and falls. It can also make your blood pressure and heart rate too low, leading to fainting or a seizure. If these happen, you should stop taking tramadol and call your doctor right away.

If you have liver or kidney disease, you may need a lower dose of this medication. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids while you are taking tramadol. It can also cause constipation, so your doctor may recommend over-the-counter laxatives such as senna (Senokot).

Your doctor should check your urine or blood for certain problems before prescribing this medication, especially if you have liver or kidney disease. Your doctor should also do a routine blood test to check your kidney function and your blood sugar levels while you are taking this medication.


Before you can receive a prescription for tramadol, your doctor will weigh the benefits against the risks. They will want to know if you have any health conditions or family history of problems related to taking this medication. For instance, this medication can cause liver or kidney damage, so your doctor may perform a liver and kidney function test before prescribing it for you. They will also check your blood pressure and heart rate regularly while you are taking this drug. If you have high blood pressure or have a heart condition, your doctor will be particularly concerned about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

The FDA has issued a warning that this medicine can cause addiction and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. This is especially true if you take large doses or for a long time. You should only use this medication as directed by your doctor, and you should never share this medication with anyone else, even if they have the same condition you do.

This medication can also slow or stop your breathing, and this is most likely to happen within a few days of starting or increasing the dose. If this happens, seek emergency medical attention right away. Other signs of serious breathing problems include a feeling like you cannot get enough air, fast or irregular heartbeat, sweating, trembling, muscle stiffness and spasmodic jerking of the muscles.

Your doctor will most likely recommend that you take this medication with food to reduce the likelihood of stomach upset. They will also discuss any other medications you are taking with your pharmacist to help prevent interactions. These may include prescription drugs, OTC medicines, herbal supplements and vitamins. These medications can interact with tramadol and cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects.

You should tell your doctor if you have a blockage or narrowing of the stomach or intestines, low levels of sodium in your body, an overactive thyroid, depression or suicidal thoughts, or diabetes. Other medical conditions that can affect how well this medication works include glaucoma, a problem with the gall bladder or pancreas, and a problem called paralytic ileus, in which the stomach is blocked or doesn’t allow food to pass through to the intestines.


A tramadol prescription is based on your medical condition and how well you respond to treatment. Your doctor will start you on a low dose and gradually increase it. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly. If you experience any serious side effects, call your doctor right away.

You may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication if you have certain conditions, including a history of head injury or brain tumor, liver disease, or kidney disease. It’s also important to tell your doctor if you have a history of slowed breathing, asthma, or lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Serious, life-threatening breathing problems can occur, especially during the first 24 to 72 hours of treatment or any time the dosage is increased. This risk is greater for older adults and people who are debilitated or have a history of wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders. Your doctor will monitor your breathing carefully while you’re taking this medicine.

This medication can cause drowsiness and affect your ability to think or react quickly. Therefore, it’s best to avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Also, talk to your doctor before having any surgery or other procedure that requires a mental alertness.

Taking too much tramadol can lead to an overdose, which is life-threatening. Overdose symptoms include not responding to sound or touch, extremely slowed breathing, extreme sleepiness, slow heartbeat, and cold or clammy skin. If you take this medicine regularly, your doctor will probably give you a medication called naloxone (Narcan, Zimhi) to keep at home. This is a drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses and save your life.

Tramadol can become habit-forming if you take it for a long time or in high doses. Withdrawal symptoms can include runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, return of pain, anxiety, and restlessness. Talk to your doctor about alternative pain medications if you have used this medication for a long time or in high doses.

Keep this medicine out of the reach of children and pets to prevent accidental overdose or death. Store the medication in a safe place at room temperature and out of sunlight and heat. Dispose of unused medication through a drug take-back program or by telling your pharmacist where to dispose of it.