Tramadol or Ultram® is a German invented pain reliever created in the 1970s. It is quite different than other prescribed pain relievers like codeine or hydrocodone, and generally considered far less addictive, though people can become addicted to it.
The drug has similar action to certain antidepressants, particularly the medication Effexor® which is a selected serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Most often tramadol is prescribed to treat pain associated with various forms of neuralgia. Other conditions for which tramadol might be used are called off-label or investigational and these include restless legs syndrome, migraines, withdrawal of other more addictive medications, fibromyalgia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The medication may be a preferred drug for people suffering from chronic pain conditions because it tends to be well tolerated without huge risk of addiction or serious side effects when used appropriately. However, there are dangers, as with any medicine in overusing Ultram®, and many people who stop using the medication suddenly do suffer withdrawal symptoms.
Ultram® is a central nervous system depressant and it shouldn’t be used in combination with other things that can depress the central nervous system. Those who take tramadol should avoid using alcohol, taking tranquilizers, or any other medications that can suppress breathing.
Common side effects in regular dosage can include nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, drowsiness and constipation. Withdrawal symptoms if the medication has been taken for a long time can include sweating, anxiety, poor sleep, pain and tremors. If people have taken tramadol for a long period of time, they should work with a doctor to plan safe withdrawal from the medication. Allergy or sensitivity to Ultram® is very rare but may include hives, trouble breathing and dizziness.