In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for tramadol, trade name UltramTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Tramadol is a short acting pain medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. Tramadol works in your brain to block how your body feels pain. This medication also changes how nerves in your brain react to pain.

Tramadol is usually prescribed to be taken from 1 to 4 times daily. This medication may be taken with or without food. Your dose is based on your condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than your doctor prescribed.

To help decrease dizziness from this medication, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. To help decrease constipation, drink plenty of fluid and talk to your pharmacist about fiber, stool softener, and laxative choices.

If you are taking tramadol on a regular schedule and you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.

When you are treating moderate to severe pain from a current injury or surgery, this medication will work best when taken at the first sign of pain. If you wait till the pain increases, the medication may not work as well or take longer to help decrease your pain.

Tramadol is commonly prescribed along with long-acting pain medications to treat ongoing pain that you might have with arthritis or back pain. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure which medications may be taken together.

Do not stop taking tramadol to quickly because you may feel a sudden increase in symptoms or unpleasant withdrawal. Your doctor may decrease your dose slowly over a week or more.

If this medication is taken on a regular basis, you may develop a tolerance to it and the pain control may not work as well. If you notice that your pain is not controlled with your current dose of tramadol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about alternatives.

Most Important Warnings

  • Tramadol is not to be used in children less than 12 years of age. If a child accidently takes even one tablet, they may stop breathing and die.
  • If this medication is used on a patient not used to taking narcotics, they may stop breathing. Serious or fatal cases have happened even with the regular dose.
  • This medication has an increased risk of abuse, addiction, and theft. Let your doctor know if you or anyone in your family has a history of substance abuse. Store this medication in a safe place to prevent theft.
  • Tramadol may interact with other specific medications and cause serious side effects including death. Tell your doctor and pharmacist all your other medications before starting tramadol.
  • When pregnant mothers use this medication, the unborn child is at risk. The newborn may need prolonged withdrawal treatment. Tramadol is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • Combining this medication with anxiety medications, such as diazepam or alprazolam, may cause extreme sleepiness, significant breathing difficulties, and death.

Other Warnings & Cautions

  • Rarely, this medication may change your mood or cause suicidal thoughts or attempts. Talk about this with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Tramadol may cause drug seeking or addictive behavior. This risk is increased if you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Follow the directions on the label and stay in communication with your doctor and pharmacist to reduce the risk of addiction.
  • The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of balance.
  • Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication. Babies born to mothers who have used tramadol for an extended period of time or at high doses near delivery may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms after birth.
  • This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking tramadol.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if tramadol is safe for you to take.
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have a history or kidney or liver disease, asthma or any breathing difficulties, family history of mental disease, any heart condition or blood pressure issues, or a family history of substance abuse.
  • While taking tramadol, you may feel a decrease in balance, dizzy, blurred vision, tremor, or some constipation. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any fast or uneven heartbeats, severe dizziness, rigid muscles or any seizure activity.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have a significant worsening of your depression or experience any suicidal thoughts.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20