stressed out woman pulling her hair

Doctors love tramadol (Ultram, Ultracet) because it is perceived as safer than narcotics like hydrocodone (Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, etc.) or oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, etc). Many prescribers are unaware of the withdrawal reaction that can occur when people try to stop tramadol suddenly.

There is a sanitized term for this extremely disorienting condition: “discontinuation syndrome.” It does not begin to describe what some people go through when trying to stop tramadol. At last count there are over 300 comments about this problem with this article. Some are truly hair raising. To read them all, click on the box at the bottom of this page labeled “Older Comments.” But first, the question that started this thread:

Q. I have been taking Ultracet (tramadol) for several years for back pain. I was taking 100 mg three times a day as prescribed. The pain is better and I tried stopping the tramadol and had a terrible reaction.

I went to my internist who advised that I stop taking the tramadol over a period of time. I am now taking 50 mg three times a day but cannot get any lower than that without experiencing nerve twitches in my legs and intense jitteriness that interferes with my sleep.

Have you heard of similar problems and do you know of any way to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms without getting hooked on another medication?

A. Tramadol (Ultram, Ultracet, Rybix ODT, Ryzolt) is a strong pain reliever that was originally thought to have opioid-like activity without the same potential to cause addiction as morphine or similar narcotics. To quote the “experts,” tramadol was thought to have a “low potential for abuse.” In other words, it wasn’t supposed to cause physical dependence or produce a “withdrawal syndrome.”

It turns out the drug is a lot more complicated than many experts first believed. In addition to its analgesic action via opioid receptors in the brain, tramadol exerts a profound effect on other neurochemistry. That means that brain chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine are profoundly impacted by tramadol. Sudden discontinuation can bring on a host of symptoms including:

Tramadol Withdrawal:

  • Anxiety, mood swings, irritability
  • Brain zaps (shock-like sensations), tingling
  • Sweating, chills, goose bumps, shivering
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia, sleeping difficulties, nightmares
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations, unusual thoughts
  • Aggresiveness

Some of these symptoms may persist longer than many health professionals realize and there is no one-size-fits-all tapering program. People vary greatly in the way their bodies adapt and recover. It may take several months to gradually wean yourself from tramadol. You should not attempt this on your own. A health professional who understands the complexity of the drug may be essential.

Many of the withdrawal symptoms associated with tramadol are reminiscent of those linked to sudden discontinuation of antidepressants like sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil) or venlafaxine (Effexor). Symptoms can include dizziness that will not quit, brain “zaps” or “shivers” that are a bit like electrical shock-like sensations, sweating, insomnia, headaches and difficulty concentrating. Read stories from readers who tried to get off antidepressants like duloxetine (Cymbalta) at this link.

The FDA has not provided physicians with clear guidelines on how to phase off such drugs. We frequently see recommendations like “gradual withdrawal,” but no one bothers to provide clear instructions about what that really means. We’re really sorry that we don’t have any great insight on this process either. Readers have shared their own solutions at this link.

Although many people can relieve their acute or chronic pain with tramadol, here are some symptoms to be aware of while taking this medication.

Tramadol Side Effects:

  • Nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue
  • Restless legs
  • itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating, flushing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping, insomnia
  • Skin rash
  • Serotonin syndrome

Please note serotonin syndrome above. This can be a life-threatening situation and can be precipitated if tramadol is combined with other medications such as “triptans” prescribed for migraine headaches or antidepressants that affect serotonin. ALWAYS check with a pharmacist about the drug interactions before combining tramadol with any other medication. To learn more about serotonin syndrome, click here and here!

Share your own tramadol story below and please vote on this article at the top of the page.

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  1. Lindsey
    texas
    Reply

    I’m on day 3 of withdrawal and let me tell you this sucks. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one, though. I’ve definitely been dealing with insomnia. The last 2 nights I have gotten a total of 5 hours of sleep. So I’m incredibly tired, can’t get comfortable, there’s pain in my knees, and when I have slept I have thrashed around the bed. Then theres the lovely chills and sweats as well as the anxiety.

    I’ve taken tramadol for 8 years. It was prescribed for my carpal tunnel and sciatica. My doctor had gotten into trouble apparently for prescribing controlled substances to too many of his patients and had to stop prescribing them altogether. That was a year ago and when it happened I was forced to stop cold turkey which I found to be extremely difficult. So I resorted to getting these meds off the street, which should never have had to happen. I understand that sometimes these things can’t be helped but doctors should really take heed to suddenly cutting off a patient from a substance that can cause these withdrawals. I’ve heard many stories of them telling their patients that they have to deal with it when the patient trusts their medical provider to take care of them and prevent them from these types of horrors when all the patient did was listen and follow their advice. It’s a real issue.

    Anyway, I only take 4 50mg tabs a day whereas when I was seeing this doctor I was prescribed 240 per month and I have decided I just need to stop. I do not wish to go to jail for something that started innocently enough as a visit to my doctor. I hate being chained to a drug. I used to take Paxil for depression and when I quit taking them I went through the “zaps” associated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors. I had no idea that tramadol would cause these or I would never have taken them. You don’t expect a pain med to act also as an antidepressant. At the state I’m in right now though I’m going to have no choice but to wean myself because this is horrible. I look like a tweaker because I can’t sit still or sleep or really even eat. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and if I knew then what I know now I never would have touched these things.

  2. Cheryl
    Peoria, IL
    Reply

    I have been taking 50 mg of Tramadol / day for the last 5 years for fibromyalgia pain and osteoarthritis in my knee. I have noticed a lack of emotion in myself the last year or so. I do not experience much emotion anymore and my family says I have changed. I am trying to wean myself off it right now. I have experienced insomnia, shock like feelings through my brain and legs, restless legs at night, extreme fatigue, mental fogginess, and diarrhea. I am taking a 50 mg pill every other day this week. Next week, I will go to every 3 days and so on. Maybe I will cut the pills in half the following week. It is terrible. My personality is changed. I am anxious and depressed and sometimes irrational. I was told it was a mild pain killer with no addiction qualities. Not true at all.

    • Anne
      Colorado
      Reply

      I have been an ICU RN for 35 years. After “retirement”, I went back to school and earned a MSN in Addiction Counseling. I have been in recovery myself for 28 years.

      I did not suffer from physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms years ago when I stopped drinking. However, through out my years helping others through a 12 Step Program, and as a therapist and working in the Detox wing of the treatment centers, I’ve treated and held the hands, attempted to comfort many alcoholics and addicts.
      Of course symptoms vary from individual: length of use; type of drug; mental health issues; physical condition of the patients.. On and on. What I do know, is that Detox is painful, and can be horrendous. Although I could empathize, no one can really understand suffering, unless experienced themselves.

      I was diagnosed with polymyalgia, after one severe flare, and placed on a year plus regime with tapering, of Prednisone. I have also been diagnosed with Ehler Danlos Syndrome which has caused problems for me throughout my life, but not considered to be related. EDS is rare, and only recently diagnosed. Basically hyper mobility of joints due abnormally “stretchy” ligaments.

      I’ve had seven joints dislocate in the past year, and now facing a total knee replacement and multiple other surgical repairs. As a life long athlete, and nurse caretaker, this has been overwhelming. But, luckily, I have an extremely high pain tolerance. As a woman in recovery, I will not take prescription pain medication, unless absolutely necessary, and dosed and dispenced with extreme care.

      Once thought to be “safe” for those with addictions, to treat pain, I saw Tramadol used with frequency.
      Though I do not suffer great pain, and Prednisone treats joint inflammation, I continued to have dislocations, and some moderate pain. Prior to my diagnosis of the Ehler Danlos Syndrome, my rheumatologist was mystified by what was happening to me (I now see four surgical specialists and research professionals for the Syndrome), and offered Tramadol to me to be taken REGULARLY in a very low dose, instead of “as needed”. I do not fault his choice in treating me. And it was my decision to begin taking a medication” regularly ” for pain.
      Two years ago, the classification of Tramadol was changed to a” controlled” category, and the University Hospital forwarded alerts to all employees. Those of us who are addictions professionals, were required to take part in three RX informative classes about Tramadol.

      Emphasis was placed upon Addiction, pharmacological use, and neurotransmitters affected.
      Tapering was mentioned, but only briefly. More time spent on simply not prescribing, or finding alternative pain relief for those already taking Tramadol.

      At that point, ID been taking Tramadol 50 mg. three times daily, for one month.
      What I’d first noticed is in all actually, Tramadol did not one thing for my pain. Period. Ice did/does more for relief.

      Secondly, I wanted nothing more to do with the medication given its potential for abuse. Given that I never “felt high” which has been the danger of opiates in the past for me; hadn’t increased my dosage, and had been on the Tramadol for less than a month, I stopped one day, threw away the bottle, and notified my rheumatologist who wasn’t concerned.

      Well…I experienced literal withdrawal HELL.

      In 48 hours, I became weepy, moody, felt strange. Couldn’t figure out what was happening, as I do not suffer depression, long past hormone issues, and I was for the most part, happy. Within eight hours, I walked out of work and actually quit in a fit of overreacting to a difficult situation that normally Id have diffused and handled. I have never in my career, behaved in that manner. I then went home, and broke up with my serious boyfriend of four years. I continued to be so agitated, moody, weepy and depressed, I couldn’t rationally wonder what was wrong with me.

      The next night, I awakened and thought I was dying. I’ve had restless leg syndrome due to excessive running as an athlete. The only way to explain what I was experiencing, was restless legs all over my entire body. I couldn’t lie down, I could sit in a chair, all I could do was pace back and forth and “flap” my arms as I remember those diagnosed with mental health issues exhibit. We call it “Saint Vidis Dance”. I have never in my entire life felt so terrified. I kept telling myself that ” I’m going over the edge” . I wanted to dial an ambulance to take me either to the psych ward or ER, but could not stop moving to manage dialing the phone.
      I’ve gone on and on here. To make a long story, a bit shorter, I finally connected the dots and withdrawal was verified. I was placed back on Tramadol 50 mg. BID.

      Instead of working with my Rheumatologist, I sought an addictions Psychiatrist who is extremely informed medically, and with regard to psychological effects of medication and Detox.
      I’ve been attempting to taper off Tramadol for nearly eight months. Down to 25 mg. BID, I recently went on a camping trip, and stayed an extra day on the river as we were so enjoying our time. I missed the night dose, of Tramadol, and the next morning’s.

      That night, I awakened with exactly the same terrifying symptoms. Unfortunately I was alone, so same hell til I could call my psychiatrist.

      I’m now tapering by the smallest dose possible, extremely slowly. Looking back, ID been weepy and emotional “for no reason” on our drive home from the mountains. I attributed this to lack of sleep.
      This is an awfully long and detailed reply but I believe an important one.

      Tramadol is an extremely dangerous drug. Symptoms of withdrawal are not being reported or being taken seriously by many in the medical profession. It is still being prescribed freely and sometimes long term, for those with chronic pain.

      My physicians tell me that “only about one to ten percent” react with the severity in which I did. Alcohol and only one other classification of RX are known to be fatal with detoxing. Had I managed to take my blood pressure those nights, I have no doubt it would have been excessively high. Had I an anxiety disorder, I may have attempted suicide. Had there been alcohol in my house, I have no doubt, despite 28 years of sobriety, I would have reached for a drink for the sheer intention of relief.

      Enough. It is my opinion, and that of my Psychiatrist, and a multitude of pharmacists whom I’ve spoken with, that Tramadol is so ineffective for pain, and so highly physically addicting, that the severity of symptoms experienced by so many people who stop taking it (despite some well intentioned medical tapering), should be removed by the FDA from the market.
      Thank you for this opportunity to publicly post my experience. And thank you to those who take the time to read.

    • Jade
      New zealand
      Reply

      Oh wow I’m so sorry to hear what your going through. I too am in your predicament at the moment and it’s so horrible. The emotional side is what I’m finding hard too. I feel stupid for letting myself get in this predicament.
      I have researched a little and read gabapentin helps withdrawal of tramadol.
      I am taking that and it has really really reAlly helped me.

  3. Susan
    Calif
    Reply

    Sandy, I was given Tramadol after back surgery 2 1/2 years ago. Started with 50 mg every 4 hrs. After almost 2 years I decided I wanted to know how much I really needed pain meds. I had no idea about the withdrawal effects. I decided to take it every 6 hrs. I felt so bad. I was nauseous, had extreme fatigue, was irritable, restless and couldn’t sleep. Luckily it only lasted a few days.

    About 6 months ago I decided to take less again. With the help of a health care provider this time! We systmatically brought each dose down, and now I have gone from 200 mg to 125 a day. My back now hurts but not sure if it’s from that or not. When I tried to go down faster I became very irritable, had trouble sleeping, and just overall didn’t feel good. I will stay at this dose for awhile and possibly try more later. My Ortho doctor said he would expect me to need 1-2 a day for the extent of my injuries. I’m ok with that.

    Just wish I had been told how addictive this drug was and all the other side effect information and I would have made another choice. Hang in there, everyone. We are all in this nightmare together.

  4. chris
    Dearborn, MI
    Reply

    One “minor” side effect of Tramadol is hair loss. Experienced this first hand! I’ll never take it again. I no longer have super thick hair, and, my hair is actually thin on one side of my head. I never connected the two until I began doing research on why my hair was falling out.

  5. Susan
    WI
    Reply

    I have severe inflammatory arthritis, and have had it for close to 10 years. It is attacking my hands and feet, and I have undergone surgery, physical therapy, used creams, braces, every anti inflammatory (which was murder with acid reflux), and Tylenol, to name a few.
    Finally I was put on Tramadol, and was assured it was a safe, non narcotic, non addictive medication that would help the pain and not be so tough on my stomach. At first I hated it because I got a severe headache, but my various doctors (I had two rheumatologists move, and had to change PCP because of insurance), assured me to keep trying.

    Then my new rheumatologist told me it would never help if I didn’t take more, and was giving me 300 at a time. This was before it was controlled, but they could only fill 240 at once. I say only, but she had me at 8+ a day, assuring me it was the safest course of action. The arthritis was getting worse and worse, I was hanging onto my job trying to write and type, and I listened to her. This went on multiple years, and pretty soon it become very clear if I missed a dose it was very addictive.

    Out of the blue, a year after it became controlled, the doctor told me she had too much hassle with the state, was stopping all controlled medications for her patients, and said to see my family doctor. I went into full panic mode. Long and short, after various tapering attempts, I became obsessed with it. I had trouble with acid reflux, and would vomit, and then become hysterical I was a pill short and worry about my refill.
    I gave up, told my doctor I wanted off, 8 to nothing. I was given Clonidine for some of the symptoms, but since I am only on day 4, I have had severe vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and even a hallucination. I am worried about the pain and what I will do for it, because with literally crippled hands and feet, it’s tough to do a lot. I am also worried about the long term issues such as depression, since this medication is nothing as it was presented – there is so much more than just a “pain pill.” I am furious at the doctor for her reckless prescribing (she told my family doctor she got in over her head). I am mad the drug was totally different than represented, especially since it was my last hope.

  6. Melanie
    PA
    Reply

    I’ve been on 50mg of Tramadol 3x daily for almost 2 years due to lingering symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome after the initial surgery to removal the cervical rib to correct it. When I called about my refill two days ago, having completely run out of the medication, my doctor’s office informed me that they couldn’t give me more and I would have to see a pain management specialist (most of whom are booked for months due to the recent legalization of medical marijuana in my state).

    I’ve basically been forced to go cold when this could have been avoided by my doctor telling me with the last refill that I would be done, so I should wean myself over that month to decrease the withdrawal effects. The fatigue is terrible and my arms feel like they weigh a ton but they burn and itch and ache and I can’t hold still or it gets unbearable. As the day goes on, I can feel it getting worse and I’m getting the shakes as well. I feel like a junkie and I am so angry at my doctor for not warning me when I was initially prescribed this for pain and for not giving me a heads up about the prescription not being renewed. That is just careless.

    • Melanie
      PA
      Reply

      *remove, not removal.
      I’d like to add that I experienced no negative side effects while taking Tramadol and it did take the edge off the nerve pain and muscle spasms. However, I don’t think that relief was worth the withdrawal and I’m only 2 days in.

  7. Billy
    RIchmond, Kentucky
    Reply

    I started taking Tramadol about 4 months ago. I’ve never been addicted to anything in my life, and I started feeling like I HAD to have them so I decided to quit. BIG MISTAKE! I didn’t take any for two days, and I thought I was DYING, literally. I have Atrial-Fibrillation, and even though the Tramadol didn’t really affect that, getting off it made my heart beat so fast I was deathly afraid it was going to throw me into A-fib, and I’d end up having to go to the Hospital.

    I hadn’t read anything at all or checked out any websites about this til today, and I’m really glad I did because at least I know I’m not alone. I don’t know if my symptoms are ‘unique’ or not, but I experienced having a very hard time getting a “Satisfying-Breath” – I just couldn’t breathe properly, but within an hour or so of taking two 50mg Tramadol, everything cleared up, and I was fine.

    Now I’m here to tell ya’ll: I LOATHE having ANYTHING “Control” me, but this CRAP gets into your body like a freakin DEMON and won’t let go. And just like everyone else has said, doctors don’t tell you ANYTHING about quitting the evil sh-tuff, so I didn’t think it’d be a big deal just quitting the nasty things, but it has been HORRID! I never have had any digestive problems that I know of due to the Tramadol, but I have had MOST other symptoms everyone has talked about on here, and THEN some. I was taking it for my legs and back because I had a car fall on me when I was 19.

    Anyway, If I had my “druthers”, I would MUCH rather just have Percocet or something like that – To HELL with all that “Addiction” CRAP. I took Percocet and one other drug – I can’t remember the name of it right now. But when I decided to quit taking Percocet, I never had ONE BIT of trouble getting off the things, and I did it “Cold Turkey.” When I was taking them regularly, I would quit them for one full month and just live with all the pain just to see if I was addicted and what would happen. Never had a problem at all, except, as I said, the leg and back pain increase.

    Sure – some people are gonna find a way to “abuse” anything.
    If it was up to me, I’d take all those who want to do dope – Put them in a room with shelves LINED with their dope, and let them have at it.
    No food, no water, just dope. IF they live long enough to realize they’re hungry or thirsty, ask them if they want something to eat or drink more than they want the dope. if they say yes, let them out and treat them for their addiction.
    Addictions should be treated as a DISEASE, not a CRIME – because I know FIRST-HAND that Jailing these people does NO GOOD AT ALL.
    I know of SEVERAL folks who went to jail for YEARS – got out, and that SAME DAY they were looking for DOPE.
    And many went straight and bought equipment to make the crap.

    METH is the dope of choice here in Kentucky. The dopers are like the Walking-Dead; They break into people’s houses looking for any drugs that might give them a “High”, and if they don’t find anything, or if you surprise them, they’ll kill you on the spot unless you get them first.

    I guess I had better quit – Sorry everyone, for veering off-topic. It’s just that when I get started on things like this, I get so irritated that I babble too much.

  8. Alf
    Salford England
    Reply

    Been taking Tramadol for six months because of a shattered wrist, decided I didn’t really need them any more (no problems with the wrist) due to the lack of ongoing pain . Stopped 2 days ago (on 200mg per day) sinc then Iv’e had hot flushes shivering had no real sleep for 2 night , feel lousy all day. The last time I saw the doctor ,he called Tramadol “a dirty drug” now I know why . I will have to ask him just exactly these symptons will last.

    • Matt
      Ohio
      Reply

      Hello Alf,

      I have been addicted to this medication for five years. I have taken up to 20 50 mg pills a day at different times. I was cut off abruptly on June 20th as my supply was intercepted by the postal inspector. There is a good possibility that I may have legal consequences now.

      My last dose was 5 50 mg tramadol on June 20th. It is now day number three without them. I went to my family doctor and he prescribed me some Vistaril which seems to help with the anxiety. I have muscle aches, no energy, and find it difficult to work.

      I am hoping the worst of the acute withdrawals are peaking now, and I’ll have more energy next week. It’s been a shock to my system, but so far the withdrawals are not extreme as I thought they would be. Good luck to you and everyone else withdrawing off this nasty drug.

  9. Gigi
    Denver
    Reply

    I have been on 100mg of Tramadol for 18 months to help lower back pain. During this period I had my gallbladder removed which certainly was needed but I knew little about the after effects. Some of the problems included constipation, gas pains, occasional nausea which I also confused with the Tramadol problems. With the Doc’s OK, I decided to decrease slowly the Tramadol and I actually feel better. I am less fatigued, have a better appetite and with the help of enzymises the constipation is not a problem. I want to be off 25mg by the end of the week.

  10. Liz
    Corona, Ca.
    Reply

    I started to take it for my shoulder, and it gave me false energy. So I desired to stop, I started today to take one pill, going to workout for one hour of Zumba. My doctor said three a day, .50mg . Loss of sleep, appetite, sweating. I’m 66, don’t want this pill, I have forgotten to take it and came home sick. So tomorrow 1/2 tablet for three days, then I’ll break it again to take it 1/3 for three days, and go through the sweats, sleepless, tiredness, and whatever. But I’m done with tramdol. Going back to naps.

    For my shoulder, tramdol is bad very bad. I’ve been on it for two years. But three than two, and I’d forget, now one…….let you know how it goes. Thank you and good luck, I’ll pray for all of you. For me, it gave me false energy. DONE

  11. Angela
    North Carolina
    Reply

    I had been prescribed Tramadol for arthritic pain and was taking 400mg for about two years before had my hip replaced. My discharge instructions were to discontinue my use of this medication. About 3-4 days after discontinuing I started noticing stomach issues (diarrhea), night sweats, mood swings and lethargy. I investigated myself to see if these issues could be due to the discontinuation of Tramadol. Low and behold I found multiple articles about withdrawal. When I notified my orthopedist about what I was experiencing his response was “It could be from the surgery and/or the medication. Taper yourself off of it over the next couple of weeks.” Why wasn’t this taken into consideration when I discharged? Why wasn’t it monitored by them? No clear instructions on HOW to taper off. Physicians who prescribe this medication should be more careful about instruction and monitoring their patients when they decide to stop use of it. It has. Even two weeks now and I’m still having the sweating, some stomach discomfort, episodes of depression and lethargy. I hope that this will end soon as I have to return to work in another two weeks.

  12. JoAnn
    MO
    Reply

    Thank you. A thousand times, thank you. I had been on 100-200mg of Tramadol for just over a year. I would take it as needed so I would skip a day or two if the pain was bearable. I am a recovering alcoholic with bipolar disorder so I try to be careful not to get too attached to any kind of opioid-type pain killer. This is why my doctor prescribed tramadol in the first place. Said it was ‘safer’.

    Last month my psychiatric doctor put me on Wellbutrin but it seemed to make the symptoms worse. I stopped taking the Tramadol because I figured it would mask my symptoms and only make things worse. NO DOCTOR ever mentioned not to stop Tramadol cold turkey. My script was for 50mg 4 times daily but I usually only took one or two except when I hurt my back badly last year. I use it now for pain related to my ever-worsening Psoriatic Arthritis but since I was using a much lower dose I didn’t think too much of just stopping completely. Then all hell broke loose, and I do mean hell.

    I have been in an almost constant state of psychosis with auditory hallucinations, invasive thoughts, delusional thoughts, irrational behavior etc. I refer to it as my descent into madness. Because I am bipolar everyone assumed that this was just a really bad manic episode and maybe the Wellbutrin played a role. But I have been bipolar since I was 15, and I am 60 now. I had never experienced anything this extreme before. I never had hallucinations of any kind. Honestly, I was not going to tolerate this much longer. I am like a distant observer to my own life without the ability to stop anything.

    Then I read this article, and now I have hope. There is no guarantee that Tramadol withdrawal is the source of my psychotic symptoms but, lo and behold, I took a Tramadol a few hours ago, and I am able to think clearly enough to write this. I’ll contact my doctor about how to proceed, but honestly, I don’t have a lot of confidence in a doctor who puts me on this stuff without any warning or instruction regarding potential problems. Yes, I should have checked online myself but being out of your mind tends to inhibit sensible thinking.

    So thank you soooo much everyone. I am not exaggerating when I say that this article and the stories may very well have saved my life.

  13. Mike
    Idaho
    Reply

    I’ve been taking 300mg of tramadol for almost 14 years. I’ve decided to get off this evil stuff and from what I’ve read on this forum, I expect withdrawals will be brutal. I started taking it after lower back surgery. Within a year I discovered Tramadol was an effective anti-depressant. When I told my Dr I wanted to take it for its anti-depressive benefit, he didn’t even know that it could be used for that purpose. Now I’m at a point where I can’t take any more than 200mg per day and only one in the middle of the night for the leg and arm twitching. I appreciate all of your comments and advice. We’re all going to pay the price it seems. I’ll try to update my progress, if I can. Thank you all!

    • Samantha
      Amarillo Texas
      Reply

      I have been on Tramadol for about six years due to fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, knee replacement at 41yrs young. I was always athletic and fit up until I was about 36yrs old, I am 49 now and unfortunately I am 100 lbs over weight and in pain all day. I have diabetes and severe neuropathy in my feet. It is so painful.

      My life has dwindled down to me barely able to shop and or walk just around my house. I take two 50mg Tramadol a day. Once I ran out for a week and it was like iI had the flu. By the second day I had diarrhea all day for two days then just awful fatigue for three days. When I got my refill I was actually I think over the withdrawals so I put it aside for a month. My pain got really severe with the fibro so now I take only one a day sometimes none. But when I have to leave my home I take just one. I cannot work. I have not been able to hold down a job in ten years. My husband is the bread winner thank God. He understands my situation.]

      This year I have decided to take back my life though. I am working hard every day to move around more get stronger and I see a dietician to learn how to eat more and better foods to help lose weight. I barely feel like eating but once a day I loose inches but muscle mainly. I pray a lot! Most people would of committed suicide by now if they were in my shoes but God keeps giving me the strength to carry on. I would not recommend anyone start on Tramadol at all ever!!! I have so much wrong with me the doctor’s tell me but I choose what I believe. Prayer will give you strength to get off all the prescription drugs you want. I also meditate with bilateral beats daily to get through severe pain. There is hope, you just have to make up your mind and DO IT! It will be very hard and you WILL BE SICK for a bit but you can do it!!

      M

  14. Marcos
    Reply

    Hey guys!

    I was on tramadol for three months contiusly lunatic crazy amounts more than 2000mg a day and to be honest they helped me a lot and kept me happy and energized the whole day, helped me a lot with my stressful job and everything was normal sleeping well eating well and always motivated until a week ago the magic stopped and I used feel sick when taking them I used to dose 5 x 100mg pills at a time 4 or 5 times a day.

    Anyways I reached to a point where I know I’m only harming my self and I should stop taking them and its been 4 days tramadol free. The first two withdrawal days were mild awful but what helped me more was all in my mind stayed positive as much as I could and I know its only matter of few days and I will get my normal life back.

    My only problem now is fatigue and I pray to God to get over that in few days.

    • Becky
      Canada
      Reply

      Angela, this will end soon. What you are experiencing is PAWS post acute withdrawal syndrome. I recommend googling it. Because Tramadol has an antidepressant in it, as well as an opioid, your body is in shock from the lack of seratonin. Try to supplement these losses naturally, and your symptoms will ease. Dark chocolate, exercise, orgasms, Epsom salt baths, proteins such as turkey & cottage cheese.
      What ever you do don’t go back on. I learned this the hard way!
      My doctors didn’t believe me either but they do now.
      Hang in there. It will get better.

  15. dg
    Reply

    I had been taking 50 mg once a day of Tramadol for 4 years for chronic back pain. It started to be less helpful so I increased to 75 mg. (cut a 50 mg in half) 2 years ago.

    If I forget to take the Tramadol, I feel weak and listless with extreme fatigue. Now, after taking the 75 mg for the past 3 years, it no longer gives me the same relief.

    Interestingly, after about 3 hours of taking it, I would feel better emotionally – less depressive thoughts and a surge of energy. For this reason, I would hate to stop it b/c I am so depressed and lethargic most of the day.

  16. Glfngrl
    Georgia
    Reply

    Have taken Tramadol, 50mg once a day in mid-afternoon for about 4 years, for restless legs. It does a great job and has allowed me to remain at a low daily dose (0.5 mg) of Requip at bedtime. However, for several months now, often experience severe fatigue an hour or so before time to take the Tramadol. Within 30 min. of taking it, the fatigue starts to dissipate. About 10 days ago, I began a tapering off schedule, beginning with 3/4 of the tablet, but adding a half dose of Requip (0.25mg) along with the reduced Tramadol dosage. Noticed fatigue level earlier in day, and somewhat exacerbated. Yesterday, reduced T. dosage again, to 0.25 mg, and kept same Requip regimen. A couple of hours before regular time for the meds today, extreme episode of fatigue – arms and legs heavy & weak, breathless feeling. Took meds, fine within a few minutes. Am having more severe RLS problems since I started tapering, but hoping that will gradually lessen once I get Tramdol free. My GP assured me that 50 mg of Tramadol/day would never cause any problems, but the slowly increasing, daily fatigue is not acceptable …..plus having become leery of it from all the worrisome examples of withdrawal.

  17. David
    Boston MA
    Reply

    Took Tramadol (100 to 300 mgs/day) for fibromyalgia pain/associated depression for seven, consecutive years. Worked like a charm; pain suppression with no soporific side effect and several nootropic effects (increased alertness, focus, fatigue suppression, and appetite suppression). Tramadol was a godsend (for me).

    I would still be taking it, but, due to rescheduling by FDA/DEA, prescriptions must now be renewed monthly (written Rx and mandatory office visit/ evaluation). The insurance company was unhappy that they now had to pay for 12 office visits/ yr. Dr./ insurance company decided to wean me off “opiate” due to increased regulatory scrutiny, “off label” Rx, and associated costs. I was forced to wean/ withdraw from Tramadol and have been “Tramadol-free” for 3 months.

    My withdrawal symptoms were relatively mild compared to some of the comments reviewed, but they have been protracted. Since I was gradually weaned, I did not experience the “zaps”, but have experienced the loss of the nootropic effects and, most profoundly, the targeted pain suppression effect. I have also experienced chronic coughing, intermittent sneezing, and emotional disinhibition (e.g. rapid onset anger when frustrated, impatience, crying, etc.). This is not “normal” behavior for me. These symptoms have persisted for a disturbing long time (12 weeks and counting).

    I am now forced to live with chronic pain/ depression because of regulatory forces beyond my control. Dr. has attempted alternatives with no success to date. The “alternatives” (Lyrica, Effexor, Cymbalta) have not been effective and also have associated withdrawal attributes; but as long as they are not scheduled as “narcotics”, he is not reticent to prescribe them. I am dismayed that the regulatory pendulum is preventing me from receiving the one medication that I have found entirely effective.

    • Stephen
      Sebring, Florida
      Reply

      Tramadol Withdrawal: Day 8

      Anxiety, mood swings, irritability. ✔️
      Brain zaps (shock-like sensations), tingling
      Sweating, chills, goose bumps, shivering✔️
      Tremors
      Headaches✔️
      Insomnia, sleeping difficulties, ✔️✔️nightmares✔️✔️
      Flu-like symptoms✔️✔️
      Nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite
      Depression
      Hallucinations, unusual thoughts✔️✔️✔️
      Aggresiveness✔️
      Other than the flu like symptoms, irritability, sweating, rash like symptoms, sleeplessness, restlessness, and weird mini dreams I’m good

      • Hilary
        Virginia
        Reply

        David, I am in the same boat as you,having fibromyalgia, RA, and OA. My rheumatologist wants me to wean down from 300 mg per day, but this is the only thing that has touched my fibromyalgia pain. I’ve been taking tramadol for 14 years, after going through a variety af antidepressants. This may sound strange, but I feel betrayed by the medical profession, which pulls away the only medication that has allowed me to function. I will wean off, and hope the side effects are bearable. The whole thing makes me feel like I am being accused of a crime.

    • Shirley
      New Zealand
      Reply

      I sympathise with you David as I have found Tramadol along with ibuprofen and panadol are a godsend for the back pain /fibromayalgia I have for about 2 years. Nothing else has worked for me and I have few side effects. But if I go 12 hours without pain relief I can end up in a ball of pain and unable to function. I can suggest warmth of a heated towel, wheat sack, hotwater bottle, bath or spa to get through some bad times and work on a mixture of less potent pain relief. Strangely, an antihistamine, along with anti-inflammatory medication and panadol has worked at times – all the best with efforts to relieve pain. My sister swears by marijuana if it is legal where you are. Cheers

      • Terry Graedon
        Reply

        For US readers, “panadol” is acetaminophen.

      • Lee
        CO
        Reply

        I am from a state that has legal marijuana. I tried that for my back pain. I found it to be much stronger than in the 70’s and the more you use the more and more you need to buy. I got off that merry go round. It is very expensive. I hate the effects Tramadol has on my body. I am getting off it and plan to use vapo rubs and hot showers and heating pads for my back and shoulders. I cannot handle this fatigue, sweating, loss of appetite and lack of motivation anymore. It is going to be rough but I have no choice. I used Percocet which helped greatly and much better than Tramadol. I was not an abuser but I have to be punished because ridiculous regulations! I used 1-2 a day and only if needed. Punish the good ones. It just is not fair! I think they can submit to blood tests if there is a suspicion.

    • Robert E. H. III
      WV
      Reply

      You said you had to quit using your Tramadol due to the medications move into Schedule IV of The Controlled Substance Act Of 1970. A Schedule IV medicine does not need a new written prescription each month as I am on Tramadol. Schedule IV allows a 6 month supply (written 30 day prescription + 5 refills). Only 2 doctor visits per year for me. I do not have to see my doctor every month as you have stated. Schedule IV allows 6, 30 day supplies per written prescription, however you only have six months to use the 5 refills before the prescription expires. But monthly visits are not necessary nor required by any law. This is a choice your doctor has made in spite of the regulations for whatever reason I cannot say as I do not know. My advice to you if you need the Tramadol and it helps you, then see a different Physician because you only need to see a Dr. twice a year for Tramadol HCl (C-IV). My doctor gives me my new bottle every 6 months with 5 refills, no problems.

  18. Aaron
    Colorado
    Reply

    I was taking tramadol 50mg for a week stopped taking them cause I have had opioid addictions in the past and it was giving me similar experiences like nodding out and vomiting I stopped taking them and felt like I worked out for 50days straight and also was heavily angry and depressed to the point I actually lost my job because I was agrees I’ve to a fellow employee. Horrible withdrawl I’d rather deal with pain then ever have to take those nasty things again.

    • Bev
      FL
      Reply

      Thank you! You have answered my question. I started taking 50mg Tramadol on June 24 – this is July 7. For 2 days I haven’t really taken any and I have had the worst feelings of like total exhaustion and I guess a bit of depression – I’ve never had depression so I’m not even sure what it’s like but I think that may be – so I wondered if it was possible to have taken something less than two weeks and be having these withdrawal symptoms and you answered my question so thank you very much I am not going to start taking them again since its been 2 days off.

  19. Jan Macnab
    Bolton
    Reply

    I have taken Tramadol for weeks 2x50mg at a time – 2/3 times per days before my back surgery and now three weeks after surgery have tried to reduce it and I have been out of my mind through lack of sleep – depression – and most of the other withdrawal symptoms listed. No GP or consultant warned me this would happen when I tried to stop them a,though consultant did say gradually decrease them. I think I tried to reduce them too quickly but the quicker I get off this awful drug the better as I cannot sleep with restless legs and lack of sleep is making me so depressed.

    • John
      UK
      Reply

      Thank you I am in identical situation as you as sleeping and feeling sick is bad, how long did you take to normalise.

  20. Tony
    Lavergne Tn
    Reply

    I am so glad I came on here and read everybodys thoughts on this Tremadol addiction, I was on Percoset 10s for 2 months, then my dr lowered it to 7.5 for a month then 5.35 for 2 months, I just started taking Ibuprofon 800 just yesterday morning….I couldn’t sleep last night for more than 10 minutes at a time and found myself sitting up and couldn’t sit still to save my life. I at first thought it was the ice cream and brownies I had ate a few hours before I went to bed. I then proceded to the couch to watch TV at 1am and fell asleep for a bit and woke up to what I felt was a body slam and it freaked me out…I final fell back asleep again and BAM another body slam, I sat awake until I finally got back to bed in my bed and all night till day break no sleep and a feeling of being tired but couldn’t sit still, constantly uncontrollable movement of my legs and arms….I’m up now and it is after 10am and feeling like I need to stay busy and I have feelings like I am worthless and no concentration…I wish I had someone to be with me just to keep me occupied….I hope this don’t take long to get through my system

    • Glfngrl
      Georgia
      Reply

      Hope your Restless Legs are much better by now….if not, see if your Dr. would prescribe the lowest doseage of Requip available to help.

      • John
        UK
        Reply

        I am on the third day and feel exactly as you did, have you recovered and any recommendations

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