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.

TRAMADOL SIDE EFFECTS:

• 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.

TRAMADOL WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:

• 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


GENERIC TRAMADOL PROBLEMS:

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. Michael ODK
    Accra, Ghana
    Reply

    I had a severe headache and the doctor prescribed Tramadol to relieve me of the pain. After 2 days, I started developing skin rashes, although I have stop taking the drugs it has taken 2 weeks and there is no sign of the rash responding to treatment despite numerous efforts. The skin rashes have now turned into blisters filled with fluides. It’s very disturbing and life threatening.

  2. Alma
    Marietta, OH
    Reply

    I’m 76 years old and have been on 400 mg Tramadol for at least 5years for lower back caused by a failed fusion and arthritis. I went to a pain management doctor a week ago. She had me stop taking the Tramadol and prescribed 5mg Norco three times a day. I was not warned about withdrawal symptoms. This week has been Hell. After reading about Tramadol withdrawal symptoms on the internet I can’t imagine why a doctor would have me stop cold turkey. I’ve considered going to ER but I’m afraid they will admit me and I need to be home to care for husband.

  3. Kay
    NJ
    Reply

    I was given tramadol for thoracic back pain caused by arthritis. Barely worked, then added Celebrex the two together work well. Gives me energy too.

    Then my back pain finally was improving. Not a huge deal getting off the 100mg. Biggest withdrawal symptoms are tiredness, dull headache, sound sensitivity, agitation.

    As long as you need it for pain, and there’s no intolerable side effects, take it. The point is to be out of pain. Pain can also be a nightmare. Doctors aren’t magicians, they can only try to help with drugs. If you’re having issues it is your fault for not researching the drug and having blind faith in a person.

  4. Judy
    California
    Reply

    I was prescribed both Oxycodone and Tramadol two weeks ago after knee replacement surgery. I took a Tramadol the first night home, but it didn’t help enough, so I also took an oxy ( as per discharge instructions). The Oxy made the pain go away, but it gave me a headache that was worse than the knee pain. So I took only Tramadol after that. The Tramadol (50 mg tablets every 4 to 6 hours) took the edge off the pain. After two weeks, I began to think the Tramadol wasn’t doing anything, so I stopped it. I was fine for about ten hours and then developed some of the side effects mentioned here: flu like body aches and a feeling that there was electricity flowing through both legs and feet. The side effects lasted about 18 hours. I stumbled on this discussion after searching online to see if these symptoms might be Tramadol withdrawal. Really glad I didn’t take it any longer.

  5. cindy
    ?
    Reply

    You know, I just wanna be my normal self again!!! BLANK Tramadol, stay away from it unless you are only gonna be on it a few days!

  6. Mark
    Reply

    With the withdrawal symptoms being as difficult as they are with the sweating, anxiety, and depression, etc, would I be better off just continuing to take Tramadol or? I always took eight 50 mg per day. What is the downside to continuing it and what is out there for pain in lieu of it?

  7. Mark
    Reply

    I took Tramadol for two years after hernia surgery and I am now trying to quit cold turkey. The sweating and depression are the toughest parts and it has been about a week so far.

  8. Lou
    Hampshire
    Reply

    I need help I am so addicted to tramadol I have to take it every day some times four times a day the reason is I have a tear in my hips which is very painful what should I do

  9. sam
    Lagos
    Reply

    I stopped taking tramadol 5days ago. the experience has been horrible, although I have regain my strength now… I still have problem with sleeping and depression. my childhood memories keep flowing into my head. sometimes, I felt like crying bcoz I miss home. guess all this is caused by tramadol. I will never take it again.
    give thanks to jah

  10. Kathy
    Richmond, VA
    Reply

    About 5-6 years ago I was prescribed Tramadol for back pain following injury and have stayed on it nearly constantly because it was supposed to not be a narcotic. Now, of course, it has been re-classified as a controlled substance.

    For a couple of years I took 50 – 100 mg/d. But in the last year I have gone to as much as 300 mg/d because it’s supposed to be such a “safe” medication. During about the same time period I have developed a skin disease know as GA, Granuloma Annulare, which is uncommon but not rare. As my dosage of Tramadol has increased, my GA has increased.

    My dermatologist is confused that my GA started after I was 60. He said it would be self limiting and disappear in less than a year. Or that in rare cases, it could become Generalized GA. Mine is now generalized and over much of my arm and leg areas and sometimes itches and then hurts if I scratch it, which he says IS very rare. Elbows and knees are worst looking areas. Today the dermatologist asked me to really think back to what changed about 5 or so years ago: what medicine did I start taking, or what lifestyle change did I make.

    Suddenly I realized that Tramadol is the only medication change during those years. My best friend pointed out that my GA got much worse as my Tramadol intake increased. GA is similar to rheumatoid psoriasis. Has anyone else experienced a link between GA and taking Tramadol? I am a W F 69 years of age in otherwise perfect health except for high cholesterol. My weight is perfect, and I can physically outwork many people in their 40s because I stay extremely active and seldom ever sit still. GA is truly unsightly but not known to cause any additional problems, so little research is ever devoted to it. I am hoping to help others by sharing my info. here and hope to hear back from others with similar experiences.

  11. Jana
    Oregon
    Reply

    Has anyone experienced skin problems with Tramadol? I have been on 3-5 50mg per day for a couple of years. Lately, I have a flushed, blotchy neck and cheeks whenever I am nervous or emotional. I get hot, too. I want to quit also, but I’m not sure what to do. I had a back problem and was on heavy narcotic meds for 3 days and no tramadol but the day I quit the narcotic meds, by midnight I was losing my mind with anxiety and restless nerves. I wanted to run 5 miles in the dark, so I took a tramadol and within 20 minutes I was fine. I hate the idea of being addicted to anything. I have severe stomach pain from hypersensitive nerve endings and the drs have no answers for me except medication. I have tried at least 20 other dietary things myself with no luck. I’ve also had numerous tests and other meds. I was told tramadol was non-narcotic and non-addictive so I switched from narcotic pain meds to that and now I want off because of my skin. I’m in menopause and thougth that might have an effect so I’m looking for feedback on the red, hot, blotchy skin. Anybody experience that?

  12. Lisa
    USA
    Reply

    I also was given Tramadol for pain by my dr. 2 yrs. ago. and have been on a dose of 50mg. 3x a day, 2 in the morning, 1 in late afternoon. I became depressed, functioned minimally at best, had twitching eyes, nausea, confusion, lost interest in EVERYTHING; I don’t even think I looked my husband or children in the eyes once in all that time. I have wanted to get off of them for awhile but I knew from all the testimonials I have read that it was going to take time and patience and I doubted that I would ever get my life back because I couldn’t afford the time off from work.

    Well, 3 weeks ago I ended up extremely sick with a nasty bug; went 3 days without the Ultram and ended up at the ER from inability to breathe. My blood oxygen was 89 (which is not something I ever had problems with before), I was having severe bronchial spasms(I declined a cat scan for it), with a fever of 100°-102°. I was given 2 nebulizer treatments back to back, with rx’s for Zithromax, prednisone, and tussionex cough medicine, then released.

    I didnt realize my problems were being caused by Ultram withdrawal until I finished the course of medications for a bacterial infection. I decided to keep going and stay off of them. I am still gasping for air and my whole esophagus and stomach feel very inflamed which makes eating difficult.I also have been extremely weak physically,BUT I am so GRATEFUL to be off the tramadol; with all the Hell I am going through, I know it has to end eventually. I have reconnected with my children (17and 20y.o.) and their father(they have been so supportive) and I feel more myself since this nightmare started 2 years ago.

    My dr. always disregarded my desire to get off Tramadol and basically told me to suck it up so as soon as I am strong enough, I will definitely be changing doctors. I am with you all in Spirit, truly. This medicine is Horrible and should not be on the market. Remember, do not feel ashamed for where Tramadol has brought you. Demand to be treated with care and respect and get any help you need to get off of Tramadol, whether it became an addiction or not.
    God Be With You
    #nevergoingback

  13. Mary
    WA
    Reply

    4 weeks off and still feel fluish, irritable and dizzy. Is this normal?
    Been suicidal, too. This drug is the devil.

    • Lou
      Texas
      Reply

      I am so afraid of getting off the Tramadol. How will I deal with my pain? But I would almost rather face the pain and try otc meds and massages than continue on this. Really need to pick a time and, I guess, taper?? Anyone know? I take 2 50mg 2-3 times daily.

      • Andy
        england
        Reply

        Hi i was taking the same amount as you , cold turkey is the only option , i tryed tapering of but really all your doing is feeding the habit , at the end of the day tapering of means one day you must take zero so you will get the withdrawls anyway …. just ride the storm it will not take months as some say , ive not had any for 6 days and now feel like i have my life back …… just think in your head ” a week of cold turkey and il be over the worse ” honest a week tops … i felt like retaking on about day 3 of cold turkey bcause of the severe withdrawls but stayed strong and now feel great ………….. keep strong

        • Carmen
          Wash DC
          Reply

          Thank you, Andy. As I write this I’m going through withdrawal symptoms. Something told me to look this up. I feel awful chills in the midst of summer. My legs won’t stop twitching at night and this is while tapering off and down to one a day! So it’s cold turkey now. I take Tylenol or ibuprofen from now on until I recover from full replacement surgery. I appreciate your feedback.

  14. Mark Voor
    SMonica Ca.
    Reply

    I have been taking Ultram for 4 months. 200mg/daily.
    I started to reduce dose 50mg each two days. Then stop.
    First day without Ultram: Medium Anxiety and Diarrhea.
    Snd: Some muscle pain and hard morning.
    Thrd: Brain zaps
    4th: Almost nothing.

    Conclusion: Ultram withdrawal is not so hard for everybody. Each body reaction is different. Dont panic, maybe yours is easy too.

    • T.
      Minnesota
      Reply

      Hi, I was on a similar dose just a little more a day. I’m also diabetic so I had a few more issues. To get off tramadol I cut my dose to six 50mg tabs a day for a week. Then four 50mg tabs a day for two weeks. Followed by two 50mg tabs a day for a week.

      At this point I started taking two 50mg tabs a day for two more weeks, but at night before bed. This got me through the night without hot and cold flashes so I could at least sleep. I continued with one 50mg tab a night before bed for two weeks. Then to a half 50mg tab a night before bed for two weeks. Then 1/3, 50mg tab a night before bed for two weeks. Then nothing. For me I was severely depressed with hot and cold flashes and flu like symptoms for about the first month. Then the depression gradually got better.

      As for my diabetes, my blood sugar was uncontrollable for the first two-three weeks. Then I was able to slowly stabilize it, but my insulin requirements about doubled without tramadol’s blood sugar lowering effects.

  15. Al
    Phila., PA
    Reply

    Am on Tramadol regularly, at least 100-200 mg a day for about three years.

    Now trying to get off it, but even about four months post total discontinuation am still having what may be “post acute” withdrawal symptoms, including feeling pretty depressed, runny nose, and chronic intermittent dry cough.

    Wonder if anyone else on this thread has had similar problems months after stopping Tramadol, and if so, how long can I expect these symptoms to last?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  16. I
    Reply

    I went off tramadol last Wed. Feb24. because I ran out of it and can’t get it for a week. Taking 300mg er. For fibromyalgia. I have never felt worse .not only can’t sleep can’t even lay still because legs and feet hurt. And I am exhausted. I want so bad not to even pick the script next week but fibro pain is bad.Dilema!

  17. Bill
    PA
    Reply

    I was prescribed Tramadol 50 mg 4X a day 5 years ago because my doctor said it wasn’t addictive. I have a neck fusion from a bad car accident and, due to my job in the painting business, I now have 2 bad disks that are pushing on my spinal chord now and some stomach issues from cancer that I beat, thank God.

    I was told to go to a pain-management clinic that wanted to inject me with a few different chemicals and was prescribed 30 Ultrams without knowing it was the samething as Tramadol. So my doctor told me that I had to get all my meds from the pain management people. Well, I didn’t want to have injections so I never went back to pain management or my doctor. I had HORRIBLE withdrawals. It was worse than any hard-core drug withdraws I ever had, and believe me, I have had them after being in the music business all my life.

    The first few days were the worst: flu-like symptoms, shakes, fatigue, diarrhea, etc. I felt like crap. Now it’s been 3 1/2 months, and I have not been able to sleep off and on for days. I get 1 or 2 hrs of sleep every few days. My legs feel like there is eletricty flowing through them every night. I have tried over-the-counter sleep aids and some prescriptions from other doctors, which make it 10X worse. I also have no energy. All I want to do is sleep. I feel like I have the flu 24 hrs a day. I’m also very forgetful and can’t concentrate.

    It’s affecting my job, marriage, and my life. I wish I had never started Tramadol. It’s the worst drug I’ve ever taken. I have no idea what to do now. I also have tried all the vitamins and supplement. It didn’t work. So after beating cancer and many, many life- changing events, I’m at a loss as to what to do.

    If you think Tramadol is going to help you, please don’t take this drug. It’s the Devil in a pill, so I just hope I can overcome this and move on with my life now at 53. Good luck all, and stay away from TRAMADOL .

    • Lisa
      Reply

      Hi, Bill. I am also 53 and Tramadol has affected all aspects of my relationships, work, physical health,etc….I think you will make it. You have come so far. Hang in there. I am in the throes of withdrawal from Tramadol also. #nevergoingback

      • Blainer
        canada
        Reply

        I am also a 53 year old male. I have been on tramadol for six years now. Came here to make sure I don’t start to abuse it as I have taken a little more lately.

        I use it mostly because it puts me in a good mood but have had to take more when back and shoulder pain occurs.

        I take between 50 to 100 mg per day. The trick for me I think is that over the years I have mostly stopped taking it on the weekends just so I would not get sooo addicted.

        Now if I get a lot of pain I have taken up 400mg for a week or so at a time but have always tried to stay away from it for at least two days a week. Hope this helps people before they get too dependent.

    • Sweety
      Bangalore
      Reply

      My mother in law is having osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylosis.
      Her rheumatologist docter started tramadol tab 50mg Twice a day.
      She was taking this medicine for nearly a year.
      Whenever more pain the doctor advice to increase the dose to three times 50 mg tablet a day.
      Dr changed the medicine one day to exact and my mother in law started experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Extreme pain, seizure, electric shock like pain, no sleep because of the symptoms.
      She also started abdomen fulness and constipation also. Lo s of other anti anxiety drugs given by doctor but not stoped the tramadol with tapping dose. Now my mother in law is facing problems with aide effect of tramadol and withdrawal symptoms.
      What to do further so that she can get relief from tramadol and it’s bad withdrawl symptom.

      Please help me and guide me for what to do further…

  18. SLY
    Reply

    My Dr. prescribed Tramadol to me 6 months ago for chronic kidney pain and stones due to a kidney disease. The first time I took it I took 50 mg. I couldn’t tell it did anything at all so the next which was in the morning I took two 50 mg. as prescribed. It had no effect until about 3 hours later and I was very ill. I couldn’t stay awake and my breathing was scary slow.

    I was not able to function. I went into a store and can barley remember it. At the time I didn’t know what was going on, I thought I had gotten extremely ill from something I had eaten because the next thing I knew I was throwing up and shaking like a leaf. Now I know in hindsight what it was. The meds seemed to take forever to take effect and that was hard because I was in pain frequently. It seemed about 2 – 3 hours later they would be in full effect. It was strange. I have kept taking them because I was told I couldn’t take NSAIDS or tylenol. But I have to take something pretty regularly. I was told to use it like I did my NSAIDS. So that is what I did and it was one of the biggest mistakes EVER.

    The Dr.’s office didn’t get me the meds over the weekend and I went through 5 days straight of horrid withdrawals. Tremors, shivers shakes RLS, sweating so bad my bed would be drenched and I couldn’t sleep at all. My body hurt worse then any flu and I was so sick I couldn’t eat for days. I fill like I have a pretty high tolerance of pain because I pass kidney stones very regularly sometimes daily. So this was rediculause to fill this way from withdrawals. Talked to my Dr about it and he said the meds wouldn’t cause me to fill like that. There was no way it must have been kidney stones. So we decided to keep trying them and see how it goes. I am now going through withdrawals again on my own accord because this medicine is of the devil for sure. I started getting tingling shocks in my face and half my face would go numb and tingle my legs would do it too.

    I was getting very depressed and I thought you couldn’t on this med because of the components in it. I am usually a very stable person and couldn’t get my mind together. Depression anxiety, sometimes more pain from body aches and things then before I ever took it.

    I am so frustrated with my Dr. He acted like this drug is NO BIG THING and it was like taking my NSAID’S. what ever and what a joke. Even when going through withdrawals I called to let him know I was going through them and wanting to know what to do. He has never called back and the last time it took over 5 days for him to get back to me when I was going through withdrawals. Even if he can’t do anything it would be nice for them to let you know what to look for incase you need to go into the ER.

    Today is day 7 and I still can’t shake the lonely filling and being very exhausted. I finally slept the whole night just last night. It took 6 days to sleep through the night but I still have body aches and I still have hot flashes and still fill like I am freezing I can keep food and water down. If there was any advice to give it would be…….
    TRY to keep drinking as much as you can.
    Keep eating even if it is a little bit.
    Try and find natural supplements to help. And pray a lot!

    • Bill
      Reply

      I’m in the same place bro all I can say is just be tough and hang in there it’s been 4 months now and I still feel like crap ,I’ll say a prayer for you and we will get threw this together ,it’s got to get better and I do see light at the end of this journey .

      • Arika
        WA
        Reply

        Bill – your post is making me sad. I was on Tramadol also for about five years although toward the end there I was only taking 50mg per day. I’ve been off of it for about a month and I’ve had several nightmarish weeks. One week, the anxiety and panic was hellish, the next week it was extreme fatigue and muscle pain. I think I’m past the worst but am still being plagued by anxiety, panic, muscle weakness and fatigue (which gets worse after eating and exercise(??)), and then there’s tingling and numbness all over my body. I tried taking it again and I get such serious head and neck pain that I can’t tolerate it (which is part of the reason I stopped to begin with). I’m not seeing a light at the end of my journey – just making it through a day feels like a battle.

    • madison
      Reply

      I’ve been in that exact situation before! Since I was 12 years old I’ve had kidney stones. Back in the day they would prescribe Percocet or lortab to treat the pain but when I was around 23 my doctor told me to try Ultram because it was safer and had no withdrawal effect. I was ecstatic at the thought because I’ve had my share of opiod withdrawal! But NEVER again will I take tramadol. It barely helped the stone pain and the depression I felt coming off it are horrible!

      I will take a dilaudid withdrawal any day rather than this stuff. Now every time I see a new doctor it seems like they want to give me this first. I just tell them it gives me severe depression (I’ve thought of killing myself coming off this medicine). Some doctors (like my urologist) understand and just switch the script to Norco. Other doctors (hospital doctors) seem to think I’m full of crap because in their words “I’ve never heard of that”. Good luck in the future and I hope nobody tries to give you this horrible stuff again.

  19. James.
    Virginia
    Reply

    Tramadol has helped me mentally. It allowed me to get out more and function better. I have tried to stop taking tramadol a couple times but that is impossible. When I think about how my life was prior to taking the drug I wonder why I want to stop taking it. It has help relieve my mental struggles and yes has horrible horrible withdrawal symptoms.

    My mental problems start with childhood. I always thought I was stronger than those problems. I joined the military and served in Iraq. I then worked as a contractor in Aviation for a few more years in Iraq. I returned and went though a divorce. I was drinking a lot. I have always drank a lot. Drinking and me went hand and hand. I tried several anti depressants and everything else the doctors wanted to put me on for mental problems. A friend gave me a tramadol for a headache. I liked it. I asked my doctor for it and got it. After a few month I completely quit drinking. I have the power over the alcohol. Most of my other mental problems are also gone. I say most. Not all. Anyways….

  20. Pamela
    Merrill, WI
    Reply

    I have been taking Tramadol for chronic back pain since August 2015. It would sometimes make me itchy but was never an issue. About a week ago, I broke out in anew itchy rash on both arms, my upper chest, shoulders and upper back. I couldn’t imagine what was causing it. No new soaps, detergents, meds or foods. It would kind of subside by morning but then would flare up again in the evening, which is when I usually take the Tramadol more often, especially when I’m at work and my back hurts so bad from standing. On Saturday, I was off so decided to try not taking any Tramadol and the rash didn’t flare up, but now today when I was back at work, I took it twice during my shift and now here is am, rashy and itching like crazy!

  21. tim
    Chicago
    Reply

    It’s been two weeks, and two days since my last dose. I only took it for about 6 weeks, about 4-5 50mg tablets at once at night. I stopped cold turkey the 5th of jan and today the 22nd I’m still having substantial stomach cramps. Is this a normal symptom of a lengthy withdrawal? Just a side note I’ve never taken this devil drug before this.

    • Shae
      Cayman Islands
      Reply

      In the same boat as you. Took it for 6 weeks, 4 x per day within 24 hours at 50MG per dose. Stopped cold turkey and I’m on my fourth day of withdrawal symptoms.

      Blurred vision, severe abdominal cramps, it hurts to breathe, disoriented, body aches, electric shocks in my hands and feet, swelling of my feet, back pain, chills, depression and flu like symptoms.

      Query, did you have those also and if so is the only thing left is the abdominal cramps?

  22. vivian
    colron
    Reply

    This drug tramadol has destroyed my social life withdrawals are torture. I wish I had never taken this. Your tolerance becomes higher. I need help desperately…

    • Georgia
      Austin Texas
      Reply

      Vivian I am in the same boat. I am actually considering going to rehab over this! It has destroyed my social life as well and I am looking for hope somewhere. Just want you to know you are not alone and we will figure this out!

      • Mark
        Reply

        I am wondering why everyone is so intent on not taking Tramadol?

        • cindy
          South Carolina
          Reply

          Mark!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been on Tramadol for more than 3 years. I ran out on Monday and can not get anymore till tomorrow, which is Friday!! I am seriously thinking of going to detox cause I HURT AND WANT TO DIE!!!!!! And the thing is, I have serious nerve damage from the shingles.

    • Margie
      easthampton, Mass.
      Reply

      You can try acupuncture and Chinese herbs. They have helped me incredibly when I had horrible side effects from a heart medication. It takes a little while sometimes, but really works. I now go straight to the acupuncturist whenever certain symptoms of my health issues return. These symptoms include shortness of breath and heart palpitations, and Chinese herbs can also treat a host of other symptoms. I suggest looking into it- you can research it online, and most likely find an acupuncturist in your area who is also into herbs. Good luck! I know how awful it can be to be withdrawing from a drug- I did that too, before I knew that acupuncture and herbs could help so much.

    • Barb
      Tacoma
      Reply

      I am trying to wean myself off this horrible drug. I’m very depressed and my anxiety is through the roof. I am scared. I have an appointment with a rehab facility today. I hate this drug.

      • Stephanie
        Philadelphia
        Reply

        Hi, Barb, I too am having a terrible time getting off of this medicine. How did rehab go? I think that will have to be my next step too. I have been trying for 7 months to get off of this drug and I have only taken 150 Mgs a day, but for may years.

    • Jenny
      Lee on Solent
      Reply

      I have been taking Tramadol for years for rheumatoid arthritis and joint replacement. After my hip replacement I thought it was time to come off the Tramadol. I cut down the afternoon dose from 2 to 1 and then took the usual 2 at bedtime. I had the most awful night with shakes “live feelings”all over. I eventually got some sleep after 3am
      Do I continue with the reduction and hope things get better or keep on taking full dose with no effects.

      • Julie
        Norfolk
        Reply

        Have been on Tramadol for years for inflammatory osteoarthritis, 100mg morning, noon & evening while working as a carer. Tried reducing on my own after reading a scare story of a lady who accidentally took 50mg over the maximum 400mg a day once and died. This first try was dropping each dose to 50mg and resulted in withdrawal symptoms. Now I have retired I cut down to 100mg mornings only without problem. Have started acupuncture and though the joint damage can never be reversed I am pain-free and more mobile. On GP advice have just cut down to 50mg a day, but if I get withdrawal again I have a back-up plan. Will ask the GP to subscribe Tramacet (Tramadol & Paracetamol combo). The Tramadol element is lower per tablet so I could take smaller reductions by taking 1 of each then 2 Tramacet, then 1 Tramadol, then 1 Tramacet before freedom. Good luck to us all!

      • norma
        CANADA
        Reply

        I am trying to come off this drug too. It’s been two days and omg, my legs hurt so bad, every joint in my body hurt and is swollen. I feel so tired, I hurt, I’m freezing, and sweating next. I started to take it for leg pain from a torn acilius that was damaged and torn. Then the joint pain came to be so they put me on anti inflammatory, both pills twice a day. I found I gained weight but felt so much better. After reading all the letters from people I really want off these pills. If anyone can suggest on how to do this, please let me know soon…right now I actually am thinking of going home and taking them because I feel so bad.

  23. DÉISE
    Munster, Ireland
    Reply

    Hi…I had been taking tramadol for 2 years and stopped taking them on Dec 17th 2015 post L4/5 right side decompression surgery. I took 2x50mgs x 3 times a day… and if I was going out at night I took 2x50mgs extra to get through the social function. I quit cold turkey as my surgery went really well and I am anti tablets. I have very few side effects. I’m a little short tempered but have a strange feeling beneath both my knees. It’s been 15 days so fingers crossed things go well and I can say I’m tramadol free!!

  24. Diane
    Ohio
    Reply

    My mother-in-law is 87 and broke her pelvis. The doctor prescribed tramadol and it has resulted in paranoia and confusion, pronounced anxiety, and forgetfulness. We have asked repeatedly, since the treatment started 10 days ago, for a different dosage or better yet, different medication. The doctor has indicated this is the medication with the least side effects. I find that hard to believe.

  25. Lee
    California
    Reply

    I went off Ultram after 40 years. No real problems except lack of sleep and headaches, can anyone tell me if this could be due to going off drug?
    Many thanks
    Lee

  26. Reanna
    ?
    Reply

    I have been taking Ultram for approximately 6-8 months now. I can’t remember exactly. I take 100mg of the morning and 50mg in the afternoon, but not always 50mg in the afternoon. Some days I do not even take the 50mg in the afternoon. Recently, like the past two weeks, I have been waking up with my legs feeling very weak and I feel funny. I know poor description, but I have no other description I feel almost like I am dehydrated after a drunk in my legs. After taking the 100mg of Ultram in the morning, I feel better and I will feel better for several hours. Then approximately 6-7 hours after taking the 100mg of Ultram, I get very shaky, pretty much all over, but a lot in both shoulders and I feel my heart pounding. I can check my heart rate and it is not elevated, but Ican just feel it pounding. I hands will even feel tingly at times. It is the strangest feeling in the world. I feel so nervous and jittery. Is this a reaction to me coming down off the Ultram from the morning dose? It never did this before int he past 6 months, so I don’t understand why it would start now all of a sudden. Anyone have any ideas if this sounds like it’s the Ultram doing this? My plan is to take an Ultram every time I feel this way and if it fixes it,I guess I can attribute the Ultram to the cause. Anyone had anything similar? It is very strange.

    • Ann
      Michigan
      Reply

      Ultram hasn’t been out for 40 years. maybe 18-20 years, but not 40. Maybe you are thinking of another drug.

  27. Tamara Lang
    Pittsburgh
    Reply

    Thank you for this post. I know its older but this medicine is terrible. Prescibed tramadol for chronic pain in 2005, it worked welll until 2010 when I began college. Prescibed 300 mg x a day w adderall didnt mix and i have been weaning off (foctor supervised) for 18 months. After taking a psychopharmacology course did it click. The sweating, trembling, muscle tightening, ankle swelling, and more. I have been on celexa, trazodone, and klonopin for 19 years. In the beginning, before the adderall i was warned by rx that cekexa + tramdol carries a risk for seizures. I at the time, uneducated coorelated “seizures” w epilepsy. Over the years the sweating, and muscular tightening to something medical. It was my idea to cut the dose. I thought my mood was okay enough not to be on so much medication. The initial cut was 300 mg 18 months ago. I have been miserable, agitated, panicked, socially dysfunctional, its very hard. Down to 50 mg, these miserable symtoms are helped with the klonopin, but the dose needs doubled to fet through it. I see my doc on Monday and I am praying she will increase the klonopin temporarily. Diarehha, severe stomach pains, trouble breathing are all apart of this misery. Feel so much better until klonopin wears off. If anyone is prescribed this medicine, it will help the mood. However, it does not mix with imitrex, 800 mg ibuprofen, cekexa, trazodone, and adderall as it pertains to me. Im lucky im alive, to be honest. But to progress in academics it has to go. Good luck to anyone trying to wean of these. Never should be prescribed at 600 mg er with my medications.

  28. Michelle Nicholai
    MI
    Reply

    I have been off tramadol since the previous Friday, 5 full days now. I had a terrible withdrawl time Saturday night. I decided to take a small dose of Tylenol 3 to help take edge off. I am now out of those since Monday. I can’t eat, my heart is racing, legs jello, no energy, chills, fever… No sleep at night! I try to take some Tylenol pm to help me sleep or Benadryl but it doesn’t help. Then I got to thinking I’m on meridian which may not be helping. I now have diarrhea as well…. How much longer????

    • Brian
      Boston
      Reply

      I took my first dose of tramadol Halloween day and boy was it a trick far from a treat. It barely took away my back pain and the weakness and diahrrea were relentless. I guess it’s just not a good drug for me
      Brian C

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