Tramadol, also sold under brand names Ultram and Ultram ER, is a narcotic pain reliever used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. The extended-release (ER) version is used to treat chronic pain that requires 24-hour maintenance. In addition, there may be other uses for this medication.
Before taking Tramadol, it is important to discuss with your doctor whether you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol. This is important because Tramadol should not be taken when one is intoxicated or by those who have recently used drugs such as alcohol, other narcotic pain medications, medication for the treatment of depression or anxiety, tranquilizers such as Valium, medicine for the treatment of mental illness such as schizophrenia, or street drugs.
Further, although the risk of seizure is present for all users of Tramadol, this risk may be significantly higher in those who have certain medical conditions. For that reason, it is important that you tell your doctor if you suffer from any of the following conditions: a history of drug abuse, epilepsy or seizure disorder, previous head injury, or a metabolic disorder.
Other disorders that may make Tramadol contraindicated include kidney disease, liver disease, any disorder of the stomach, or a history of depression or mental illness.
If you are pregnant and considering taking Tramadol, it is important to know that the drug is in pregnancy category C. This means that the medication may be harmful to an unborn baby, and it may also cause serious – or even fatal – side effects in a newborn if it is administered to the mother during pregnancy or labor. Note, too, that Tramadol can enter a mother’s breast milk and can therefore be harmful to a nursing baby.
Age is a factor in a patient’s suitability for Tramadol, too. It should not be given to anyone under 16 years of age, and for those over 65 a lower-than-usual dose may be recommended. Finally, take Tramadol exactly as it has been prescribed. Take it with a full glass of water and do not crush the tablet. You may take it with or without food, but whichever way you choose, be sure to take it the same way every time.