Q. Last February my 84-year-old mother had pain in her lower back due to a car accident. The doctor prescribed tramadol (Ultram). She took it for several months. It helped with the pain, but we did not realize that the problems she had were side effects that the drug was causing.

The most serious one was shortness of breath. The doctor prescribed an inhaler, and was about to refer her to a pulmonologist. Other adverse reactions included confusion, lack of appetite, depression, anxiety and very high blood pressure (we took her to the emergency room in April for blood pressure of over 200 with shortness of breath).

They did not find anything, but prescribed more blood pressure medicine. Around July she stopped taking the tramadol and she soon realized that she was no longer short of breath. Gradually she was back to her old self, with purpose, less anxiety, and able to breath well.

Perhaps the doctor should have realized that the shortness of breath was due to the tramadol. Perhaps I should have read the sheet that came with the medicine. I wonder if any other patients have had a similar experience.

A. Tramadol (brand names Ultram & Ultracet) is a complicated medication that was first approved by the FDA in 1995. It is a moderately powerful prescription pain reliever that has some “weak” opioid activity. That means it acts a bit like a narcotic. It was supposed to be safer than most pain relievers, which is why it is not categorized as “controlled” substance (the way Vicodin, Oxycontin or hydrocodone are). Doctors could prescribe Ultram without using a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) number.

In the early days there was a belief that tramadol was much less likely to cause dependence than most other narcotic-like analgesics. In other words, there was not supposed to be an abuse potential (doctorspeak for the drug was generally considered non addicting). In theory, this pain reliever was supposed to have a low likelihood for producing withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, especially when compared to narcotics like oxycodone.

Tramadol also affects neurochemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine. That means the drug behaves a little like antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline, which is an SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or Effexor (venlafaxine an SNRI) in the brain, though the drug has not been approved to treat depression. More on this effect (and its complications) in a moment.

The problem with theories is that they don’t always work out the way they are supposed to. In the case of tramadol, there are a number of side effects and complications that were not necessarily anticipated.


• Dizziness, unsteadiness, vertigo, coordination difficulties
• Nausea, vomiting
• Abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea
• Constipation
• Sleepiness, drowsiness, fatigue,
• Itching, skin rash (could be life threatening!)
• Sweating
• Dry mouth
• Anxiety, confusion, nervousness, cognitive dysfunction
• Headache
• Insomnia
• Seizures
• Respiratory depression, breathing difficulties (shortness of breath)
• Suicidal thoughts
• Low blood pressure on standing, hypertension, irregular heart rhythms
• Serotonin syndrome

Your mother’s side effects including her breathing difficulties, confusion, lack of appetite, hypertensive episode and depression could all have been tied to tramadol. The drug can trigger something called serotonin syndrome, especially in combination with certain other medications. You can read more about serotonin syndrome at this link. It can be potentially life threatening.

Perhaps the most disturbing and unanticipated problem with tramadol is withdrawal. Even though most health professionals thought the drug would not trigger this problem, we now know that it not only happens but can be disastrous. In addition to the narcotic-like action of tramadol, the drug also behaves a bit like antidepressants such as paroxetine, sertraline or venlafaxine. At the time it was approved, the FDA may not have realized that when such drugs are stopped suddenly, people can experience very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This dual action (the narcotic-like effect and the serotonin “discontinuation syndrome”) can lead to some terrible symptoms. Patients are not always warned about this problem.


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

Here are just two of many stories we have received about this complication:

“I had surgery on my shoulder for a partial rotator cuff tear and manipulation of my frozen shoulder at the same time. The doctor ordered for PT to begin very next day. I was taking tramadol, but starting to feel strange so I stopped taking it abruptly.

“By midnight I was having cold chills and the sweats all night long. By the next morning I was vomiting. In addition to sweating profusely and cold chills I had severe anxiety. I was ended up in ER that afternoon. Apparently, I was having withrawal from tramadol. It was a horrible experience. I do not want to ever experience the “withdrawl” symptoms again.” -Keiko

“I took tramadol for just over 30 days prior to having a hip replacement. I then took the pills for a week after surgery. Then I stopped.

“The withdrawal for me was worse than recovery from the surgery. I had flu like symptoms and was depressed (something I had never experienced). It took about 3 weeks to feel somewhat normal. I would never take this drug again!” -Lorraine


In addition to the side effect issues and the withdrawal symptoms associated with sudden discontinuation of tramadol, there is also the generic drug concern. We have heard from a number of people that not all generic versions of tramadol are created equal:

“I was taking the generic version of Ultram (tramadol) for several years when my pharmacy suddenly changed manufacturers (and did not point it out to me before I left the pharmacy with it).

“I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but within 24 hours of taking the other generic, I knew something was terribly wrong. All of my pain symptoms returned overnight, accompanied by extreme anxiety.

“I had to jump through hoops with the pharmacy but managed to get my doctor to write the script as DAW [dispense as written] and within an hour of taking the “Ultram,” I felt completely different. The anxiety disappeared along with the lower back and leg pain.” -P.J.B.

“When my doctor prescribed Ultram for my neurologic pain, it worked for the first time and I was nearly pain free for a few hours. Then the pharmacy changed to the generic tramadol and I never had total pain relief for any length of time.” -Jim

The bottom line on tramadol appears to be:

• Tramadol can ease pain somewhat, but has a number of serious side effects (see above)
• Tramadol should not be discontinued abruptly. It can trigger terrible withdrawal symptoms for some people.
• The FDA has not provided physicians with clear guidelines on how to help patients phase off such drugs. We frequently see recommendations like “gradual withdrawal,” but no one bothers to provide clear instructions about what that really means.
• Do not assume that all generic tramadol formulations are identical to Ultram or each other.

If you experience any side effects, withdrawal symptoms or complications with a generic version of tramadol, contact your physician and pharmacist and request the help you deserve.

Share your own story or comment below.

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  1. Ahmed

    I was taking tramadol 400 mg daily for one month for lower back pain and after that I decide to stop it because I have exam and this drug made me depressed, but 48 hrs after last dose I suffer from severe symptoms: high fever, chills, pain all over the body, and severe flu like symptoms and bad mood, and I am a Dr and I did not know tramal has withdrawal symptoms. please any successful treatment please?

  2. S.D.

    My doctor prescribed this drug for leg pain caused by sciatica. I took it at 9 p.m. with food. My head felt dizzy and weird during the night. I woke up at 5 a.m. with an excruciating headache and felt very nauseous. Between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m., I vomited six times. The headache and nausea lasted for a full 24 hours. Needless to say, this drug is going in the garbage. I have never had a drug reaction as bad as this!

  3. lex

    Well I took tramadol around 9pm and I’ve been experiencing shortness of breath really bad to the point where I stop breathing when I’m sleeping and immediately wake up gasping for air. I’m still up not able to sleep at all thinking I’m going to die while asleep. It is now 4am and I have yet to get sleep.

  4. K

    I have been off tramadol for 4 days already and am still suffering from visual and auditory hallucinations. This is awful. I’m very agitated and paranoid. This is a BAD drug.

  5. Ron
    Fresno, CA

    Well, I had sciatica and the doctor subscribed meloxicam, a lidocaine patch, and tramadol. There for the first few weeks I was pain free (well, still am pain free) but I was, talk about side effects—-more active—doing things around the house I never do, lost weight, felt physically really good. I kinda knew that the feeling good part was probably from the narcotic and not the weight loss—I mean I could almost feel a buzz. But like always, I got on the internet to investigate and saw the addictiveness of tramadol. I was taking one around 4pm and then one at night before bed. I had lost a nice amount of weight and pain was gone so I decided I should wean myself off—because of the addictive effects. Well, it doesn’t seem like a huge weaning, but I started taking only one a day. Now I do feel the stuff you are writing about here. Thank you because it’s not good feeling lousy and not knowing why. But seeing all the symptoms of withdrawal matching what I am experiencing—–insomnia, anxiety, aggressiveness, suicide thoughts, lethargy. And that’s just from taking half of what I was taking. Maybe I should cut the pills in half and take 1 1/2 to ease the withdrawals? But then again, I don’t want to take a bit more to relieve the withdrawal effects—that’s insane. So, no matter how long these last, I’m taking only one a day and quickly will go to 1/2 a day. Thanks for all your comments—-they were wonderful.

  6. Mike
    Cave city

    They are really messing with me.

    • Jay

      I have been on tramadol 50mg for about 5 years, I recently quit because I knew it was becoming a problem. When I would run out I would freak. I knew it was time and of course it’s scary and feels terrible to go through withdrawal, but you won’t die. I sweat constintaly, have a hard time breathing, am emotional, and can’t sleep! The absolute worst is the shaking and I have it bad. To the point that I will start to emotionally unravel and become desperate to feel normal even if it’s for an hour. It’s hard to quit but not impossible, remember that when you do go through hell and you prove to yourself that you can do this, it is a powerful thing. It gets better, it’s difficult and just flat out sucks but when you get back to feeling like you again….it’s absolutely worth it. If it was easy everyone would do it, but sadly that’s not the case you just have to remember what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger.

    • Katy

      How did you make out? I’m ready to jump and afraid I won’t be able to function at work. Desk job, deal with people and phone calls all day. Can I do this? 18 month user, down to 3-50mgs a day.. I want to try just one tomorrow. Is that wise?

    • eddie willers

      This thread is unbelievable (even in the age of the Internet).

      Typical story:

      “I took tramadol
      It relieved my pain
      I quit taking tramadol
      Pain came back

      And we wonder why doctors shy away from pain management.

  7. Randy

    I have been on Tramadol 2-50mg tablets every 6 hours for almost 3 years now, due to a botched lower back surgery for a herniated disc between L4 & L5. The Orthopedic Surgeon accidentally cut my nerve in my back which left me in the worst pain I have ever been in and I am still in. In post recovery upon waking up after surgery, I was moaning and groaning from the intense pain, that the surgeon ordered me to ICU for my pain. They tried multiple extremely potent pain relievers to control my pain, but it just masked it and I was a vegetable and in extreme pain even with the potent pain relievers.

    I was eventually given Tramadol to try and it was the only thing that helped with my pain. It doesn’t completely eliminate the pain, but it does reduce it enough significantly to where it is tolerable and I can function and perform daily activities etc., but it is the only thing that works. In fact, I take 2-50 mg tramadol tablets every six hours, and it has got to the point where I don’t even have to monitor the clock anymore, because as soon as it is within approximately 1 hour of taking the tramadol, the pain comes back in full force, so I just wait till the pain comes back and I pop 2 more tablets. But I will say something that I have noticed since I started taking tramadol, is that it blurs my vision horribly and I am surprised that no one else has experienced that, from what I have read here. But I just will have to live with this horrible medication till the day I drop in my tracks, as it is the only medication that helps and I don’t have a majority of the side effects I am seeing here. I do know that my mind is cloudy and I feel like I have a hard time concentrating and have lost considerable weight with this medication/drug. It even suppresses my appetite so much that it’s hard for me to add or keep my weight at a consistent level. That is probably one of the worst things about this medication/drug. If you want to lose weight, this will definitely help in that department. Horrible.

    I also notice that I occasionally get restless leg syndrome/thrashing at night when I try to sleep, especially if I am not on time with my dose. Well, I’ve said enough and could actually keep right on babbling. Good luck to all you other sufferers going through the withdrawal phase. I don’t know if I will ever get to that stage, as I will need to be on this the rest of my life, thanks to a botched lower back surgery, from a surgeon who probably had golfing on his mind while I was under the knife. I’m sure he didn’t want to miss tee time with his golfing buddies!

    • PJ
      Houston, Texas

      Randy, I have also been on Tramadol 50mg – 2 every 6 hours for 3+ years for a nerve impingement in my neck. My eyesight has significantly changed – distance vision is fine, but I have had to wear reading glasses!! I never had a vision problem before. I have tried to decrease my dose several times, but I get the restless legs, flu like symptoms, and overall feeling that just makes you feel very agitated, and horrible to where I am so fatigued but if I try to lay down my legs go haywire!! I also have different side effects on certain generics, and with Teva, it doesn’t seem to help at all and makes me go into withdrawal symptoms. I wish that I never started this medication, but like you, the hydrocodone didn’t do nothing but make me unable to function and just masked the pain!! I just hope somebody will come up with a solution to ease the withdrawal symptoms after my surgery!! Good luck to you, and let me know if you have found anything that will help with the horrible side effects !!

    • Cindy W.

      I’m trying to quit taking Tramadol. I am on 50 mg, and I take them 2 times a day. This morning I cut it down to 1 1/2 this morning I have panic/anxiety attacks, a horrible feeling. I just hope I can stay sane and hang in there until I quit completely.

  8. Drue
    North Carolina

    I was on Tramadol for 13 years for back pain and arthritis. In December my blood pressure shot way up. My doctor told me to go off Tramadol, so I did. I felt awful, as others no energy at all. Just wanted to sit and watch TV. Did not realize I was in withdrawal. It was AWFUL. I did go on Mobic for the arthritis which doesn’t work as well. It is now The end of April and I still have no energy. I’m 75 and have always had high energy so hate this feeling. I was on 37.5, two in the morning and once in a while two in the afternoon if I had a busy day. I kept asking my regular doctor and heart doctor if it was OK to be on it and they always said “yes”. They should take this medication off the market! I feel for all of you who are going off Tramadol. Good luck.

    • Sara

      I was searching for someone who had the same effects of tramadol as I do. I too have terrible blurry vision, but not only that I also have intense eye pain I can whether my eyes are open or closed, I feel lots of pressure behind them, they look swollen and red and my pupils are larger. Now I am alarmed because I seem to be having an irregular heart beat or palpitations, itchy red skin, insomnia, and a couple other more common ones. I quit taking it yesterday after a few weeks of using it but now have a pain patch on because of an open femur break and knee. I am wondering how long these effects will last. Hours, days, weeks?

  9. Fred

    Being in pain is hell. Chronic pain is indescribable and worse than hell, believe me I know. Because we are intelligent beings we seek out remedies to our pain in ways our society permits which is to see a doctor and get relief from our suffering. Nobody wants to suffer and doctors generally have little compassion to spare for those in pain. I have been to third world countries and realized there are very many who suffer due to a lack of treatments available which deeply saddened me and still does. Yet our doctors are limited by their own discipline as well as by the available science and most of them having no personal experience with chronic pain and can not relate to our dilemma as constant sufferers.

    Pain patients are too often viewed as neurotic whiners or deviate drug seekers and are dismissed with various band aide solutions, and the suffering continues. Pain clinics have become the biggest run around making millions of dollars on repetitive diagnostics and providing little to no additional relief. On the other end of the spectrum you have doctors creating ‘new theories’ on pain and pain relief which points toward our pain as being a misperception of our brain and nervous system which strongly hints of charlatanism. I fear that suffering from physiological damage is going to be with humanity for the foreseeable future, as for now we cope as best as we can hoping that the remedies we are being prescribed don’t kill us or make us sicker. No one ever told me that life would not involve painful suffering either physical or psychic yet I somehow came to believe this and I was wrong. After all who could imagine pain without end and the end to joy without recourse? I know my doctor can’t. God help us all.

  10. Pat
    West Chester, P a

    I was taking tramadol for post surgical pain. Was told that it was safe to use because it was not a narcotic. After four weeks and symptoms of headache, loss of appetite,irregular heartbeat and “being in a fog” I discontinued, and am now on day 4 of withdrawal. I feel lousy and all of the previous symptoms are much worse, plus more pain. Will let my doctor know about this situation and hope he advises patients to use it sPARINGLY!!!

  11. MWahid

    Well I took this for 4 year now I’m stopping it, today is my second day and I feel horrible, they say the pain will last 3 days and then I will feel better, my back is killing me my joints are also killing me I’m depressed crying like a baby, I just want my life back wish me luck everyone.

  12. Jan

    I have been on Tramadol for 5 years due to a connective tissue disease. My pain is diminishing and I can’t seem to even taper off this drug without horrid side affects. It will not let go of my brain. I am paranoid, sleepless, unsociable, gut wretched, slow to think, crying, depressed, loss of appetite, body aches, skin hurts,trembling and more. My Dr. does not really get it. My life has been greatly disrupted and I probably will lose my job. I tell everyone I know to stay away from this poison. I’m sure it’s fine very very short term and not to be taken daily. So why is it still on the market? I’m waiting for a class action lawsuit to come out on TV soon.

  13. Tif

    I have been taking tramadol for 6 months due to a knee injury, I decided to come off of it, didn’t have much to wean from, but yesterday I took my last one, I don’t feel horrible but does it get worse ? I didn’t like this medication because it is not what it seems. Good luck to those stuck on this crap. I am praying for a quick withdrawal.

  14. Jackie
    Dayton, Ohio

    I am a 26 year old woman and I was recently diagnosed with lumbar stenosis and a bulging disc. I have been prescribed Tramadol along with other pain relief meds. It helps somewhat with my pain but it’s not really useful with nerve pain. Only side effect I have noticed I suffer is being itchy all over when I first start and I do feel happier while taking it. I did have to stop taking it abruptly when I had to quit my job and lost my health insurance temporarily and I had no withdrawl symptoms. I am now back on it with no issues.

  15. nicole

    My husband was prescribed this after his tooth extraction. Its only been 4 days and hes completely different person. Hes paranoid and anxiety ridden and suicidal at times. I’m really hoping I can get him off of this before he becomes addicted.

  16. Cherie C.

    I am a 38 yr old healthy female. Had some severe neck and back pains, ended up in ER. Was prescribed 50mg of the generic version of Ultram, Tramadol made by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I experienced confusion, hallucinations, severe drowsiness, nightmares, depression, abnormal thoughts, coordination problems, moodiness, body spasms. The absolute worst experience in my entire life! I will never take that medication again.

  17. Lisa
    United Kingdom

    I’ve been on tramadol for 6 years. 400mg a day and accidentally missed a dose. I was in hell. I immediately called my doctor and said I wanted to stop and he told me to do it over 3 weeks. I’m on week 6 now and have completely stopped but the withdrawals have been horrendous and the worst experience of my life.

    I feel like I am dying. Can’t sleep. Brain zaps. Shivers. Sweating. Vomiting. The list is endless. I’ve had no help from my doctor and I would say to anyone to really think hard before taking these pills.

    Had I known this would be the torture I’d have to endure to stop them then I would have declined them when the pain clinic prescribed them. I wish I knew how much longer I’m going to be suffering because I am literally being tortured mentally and physically and feel weaker by the day. I called my doctor again at week 3 and he advised me to increase the dose?!? What?? As if I’m going to go through all that just to get some small relief and prolong the suffering further. . Good luck everyone. You’re not alone :)

    • Carol

      I have been taking tramadol for 15 yrs since my dr said ” They are not addictive “. I can never go off, I would die. Please don’t take them we need a class action suit, Even last week my pain dr said Oh they are nothing

      God Bless You All,

  18. LaToya

    I was put on Tramadol for a tooth ache… I only took 1 in which the hospital gave me before I left. I filled my prescription but didn’t take anymore. This was on a Sunday on Tuesday I started feeling nauseous and had vomiting. I didn’t know what was happening I felt horrible. My mom takes the medicine for knee replacement I called her she said its the tramadol don’t take anymore get rid of them. I never thought taking 1 pill could make you feel this way. They should take this off of the market.

  19. LaToya

    I was put on Tramadol for a tooth ache… I only took 1 in which the hospital gave me before I left. I filled my prescription but didn’t take anymore. On Tuesday I started feeling nauseous and had vomiting. I didn’t know what was happening I felt horrible. My mom takes the medicine for knee replacement I called her she said its the tramadol don’t take anymore get rid of them. I never thought taking 1 pill could make you feel this way. They should take this off of the market.

  20. Julie

    It did exactly the same to me. Very breathless until I gnarly stopped taking it. Thanks for sharing x

  21. Wendy

    My daughter has rheumatoid Arthritis and severe back issues. She has been going to a pain management doctor for two years. The first thing he put her on was Tramadol 50mg three times a day. She is all of 98 pounds. She has also been prescribed other meds as well. She is 24 always avoided illegal drugs, stopped being friends with people who were using. Lost friends to overdose etc.. Her primary care prescribed Cymbalta for depression and possible pain relief she was on it 60 days when she began having issues. Then she had a seizure in the shower. She realized her “issues” were absence seizures. She had an appointment with her pain doctor and they decided to “wean” her off tramadol but she wasn’t really giving direction on how to go about it. She had two more seizures and was told not to drive or be alone. finally after a week she got through to the doctor and the doctor told her to stop the tramadol immediately. She might experience some discomfort but the seizures should stop. Well the “discomfort” was full on withdrawal symptoms fever chills muscle spasms nausea extreme pain anger and lashing out the works. The doctor called in new prescriptions to help with the withdrawal symptoms which basically knock her out. I live 500 miles from her but my 74 year old mother stepped in to stay with her. This medication was touted as not being addictive and minimal opiate withdrawal symptoms. That is completely wrong do not take this medicine without completely researching your options. My daughter feels like she would rather go through having her appendix removed and having mono (which nearly killed her, again due to a medical professional) at the same time than dealing with the withdrawals from this supposed safe drug.

  22. bruce s
    bingen Wa.

    I have osteoarthritis, degen discs, no cartiledge in my neck, bone on bone, bad spondy low back, uneven leg length, 4 herniated discs and more, but that is nuff, been taking tramadol hcl. Is that same as ultram? 3 years using this trash, some relief until last fall 2013, I pushed a neck vert. I could feel it manually, went to my pain clinic, saw a PA., gave me more tram, I said I needed a good chiro or osteo to realign my neck. She did not know any in this area. Later, too late, her supervising MD. did know of a good chiro that he used often but too late for me. Meantime the PA. upped my dose from 100mg to 300 mg a day, pretty soon I am hooked and still in pain.
    Now a year later I am withdrawing (my choice) and same clinic seems clueless as to schedule a gradual taper. Last visit they cut back 33% on it….too rapid….Why do I know more than the doctors from looking at a few web sites on withdrawal? Best site …reduce 10% a week, not 10 mg a week, an easy mistake to make but a bad one. As said the clinic: Columbia Pain Management, seems pretty ignorant on a subject that they should know very well.
    I’m not doing well and resent the heck out of these idiots malpractice……So, I’m on my own despite many calls asking for help. Oh just talked to the clinic and they will see me in a week.

  23. Sherry
    Palm Bay, FL

    I have 3 discs that are degenerating in my lower back along with Fibromyalgia, two bad knees & Neuorophy!!! I was put on Tramadol a week ago, the more days I took it, the worse I began to feel! More pain, forgetfulness, dizziness, as well as some other side effects.

    I took 2 yesterday but nothing this a.m. yet, and I can already tell a major difference! I’m not in as much pain as I was over the weekend! Going to my M.D. in a little bit & going to talk to him about the side effects of Tramadol! So not happy with it!

  24. david
    United Kingdom

    Interesting to read everyone’s experiences with tramadol here. I have been taking the drug on and off for about 6 years but the past two years it has developed to habit forming.

    Initially I was taking them for back problems however like most I am now simply taking them because I can’t get off them. I take 3×4 50mg pills every evening purely down to the fact that without them I am bored senseless. Recently I feel a lot more depressed than normal and the suicidal thoughts are creeping in. I have had every other side effect imaginable over the years. Pretty much everything on the list I have had but for me the worst issues are the itching, nausea and cloudy thoughts.

    One thing I do find positive in my situation is that this year I have been on two family holidays this year and during these times I have not taken any tramadol at all so I know from experience getting off them properly can be done.

    Tonight I will lower my dose and see how we go. I am sick of being unsociable and always making excuses not to do things. I want my life back.

    • sherry

      Please,please whatever you do only take small amounts of this. I have been on ultram for ten years due to disk degeneration disease and nerve damage in my arms . This honestly is the only med that gave me energy and no pain for a while. But, they never told me how addictive it is!! I am on day 5, of withdrawal,not good at all let me tell you. The problem with this pill is after A while you need more and more. I will get off these some way. Just be careful.

  25. laz
    United States

    Regarding Tramadol toxicity and withdrawal, we recently had an experience which shouldn’t have happened. Our 8 yr. old dog had surgery and was prescribed Tramadol pre-op and post-op. We told the vet that her pre-op dose was too high because she began crying after we gave it to her so we lowered the dose to 1 pill/day instead of three! We thought she would take that into account after surgery. However she still prescribed Tramadol at 1 pill /day cut in half and given 12 hours apart (we found out later that cutting pills increases the speed of release into the system and shouldn’t be done). Well our dog was having breathing difficulties in a couple of days, vomiting and we reported it immediately. The vet seemed clueless and didn’t even suggest Tramadol as the cause, so we kept on giving it to our dog thinking she needed it to survive.

    Finally, several days later our dog had tremors on her sides before going to bed, during the night she began crying uncontrollably like she never did before the Tramadol. In the morning she was exhausted and we thought dehydrated so we brought her to the vet clinic. The vet was again clueless and missed the symptoms as being a result of adverse reactions to the Tramadol. We researched all this afterwards and found out that all the symptoms could be attributed to Tramadol adverse reaction and withdrawal. The uncontrolled crying is called emotional liability and can be caused by Tramadol overdose or withdrawal. Toward the end our dog so exhausted from crying, also had weak/no pulse in her legs and we also found that on the list related to Tramadol side effects. Again the vet didn’t make any connection and gave our dog morphine to sedate her to stop the crying which was the wrong thing to do. We found out that Tramadol should not be mixed with a narcotic and morphine is a narcotic. So our dog died and we had to speak with the vet and show her the information we found. Her words were “this is all news to me.” She was sorry but her lack of knowledge concerning Tramadol effects, dosage and withdrawal ultimately led to our dog’s untimely death. If not for the meds. I think our dog would have recovered. Sad. Avoid Tramadol! Also, vets have no accountability put on them and owners have no recourse it seems when negligent care is given. Be aware. I wish we had been.

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