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). In case you had not noticed, opioids have been getting a lot of bad press for their addictive potential. As a result, many prescribers are turning to tramadol to ease patients’ pain. We fear that most are unaware of the withdrawal reaction that can occur when people try to stop tramadol suddenly.

Tramadol Withdrawal:

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 600 comments about this problem associated 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.

Many antidepressants also affect the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. For years clinicians thought there would be no consequences after altering brain chemistry with drugs such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta) or venlafaxine (Effexor). Sudden discontinuation of such drugs can bring on a host of symptoms. Here is a link with over 1,300 comments regarding Cymbalta complications:

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) Side Effects & Withdrawal

Remember that tramadol not only affects neurotransmitters. It is a synthetic cousin of codeine and binds to opioid receptors. That means it is weaker than narcotics like hydrocodone or oxycodone. But it works in part to ease pain by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. Many physicians were convinced that it would not cause dependence the way strong opioids might. In other words, no worries about abuse and no DEA (drug enforcement administration) agent looking over your shoulder.

The Double Whammy:

The problem is that patients may be vulnerable to a double whammy. Stopping tramadol suddenly may affect the brain and nervous system via multiple pathways. First, you have the opioid issue. But there could also be the serotonin and norepinephrine pathways. Here is what we have discovered when it comes to that sanitized phrase “discontinuation syndrome”:

Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms:

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

Stories from Readers:

Arika in Washington is going through prolonged withdrawal:

“I was on tramadol for about five years. By the end of that time I was only taking 50 mg 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 I had to deal with 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). Then there’s tingling and numbness all over my body.”

“I’m not seeing a light at the end of my journey – just making it through a day feels like a battle.”

Sweety in Bangalore shared this story:

“My mother-in-law has osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylosis. Her rheumatologist started her on tramadol. She took this medicine for nearly a year.

“Then her doctor changed her pain medicine in one day. After stopping the tramadol she experienced withdrawal symptoms: extreme pain, seizures and electric shock-like sensations. She got no sleep because of the symptoms.

“She also received anti anxiety drugs given by her doctor. The tramadol was not tapered.  She is going through bad withdrawal.”

Shae in the Cayman Islands reports:

“I took it [tramadol] for 6 weeks, 4 x per day at 50MG per dose. I stopped cold turkey and I’m on my fourth day of withdrawal symptoms.

” I have blurred vision, severe abdominal cramps and pain breathing. I am disoriented, have body aches, swelling of my feet, electric shocks in my hands and feet, back pain, chills, depression and flu-like symptoms.”

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.

Where is the FDA?

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

Serotonin Syndrome Can Be Life Threatening:

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!

FDA Warns of Serotonin Syndrome

Share your own tramadol story below in the comment section. Have you suffered from tramadol side effects or tramadol withdrawal? Was tramadol the right solution for you? If you found this article helpful please vote on this article by clicking the 5 stars at the top of the page.

Revised: 3-1-17

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  1. Gail
    New York

    I have been on Tramadol for 7 1/2 years. I have never abused this drug. I was prescribed 300 mg but don’t remember taking that high a dose. I was on 200 mg for several years then self adjusted my dosage to 150 mg and was on that for at least 2-3 years. I have been self weaning myself off by cutting down the dosage, first at 50 mg now 25 mg per 4-5 week adjustment period. I am now taking 75 mg a day and hoping to be off the medication in 3 to 4 months. Has anyone else done their withdrawal this way and what kind of side effects did you have? Or should I expect withdrawal side effects no matter how much time I give myself to taper off.

  2. Bob

    I have taken tramadol for about 4 years…only about a pill in the morning and one at night….weekends more.. Any Way, over the summer I started tapering off….feeling worse the more I tapered. I have finally been completely off of it for almost 2 months now but the depression and just lack of interest in life is unbearable….i also constantly worry about money and my job….i want to know how much longer this may last…..months? A year? Please. Any response will help.

  3. Augie
    Upstate, NY

    My doctor starting prescribing Tramadol to me 10-12 years ago for back pain. At that time it was considered non-habit-forming and it was not a controlled substance… yet. Plus I had never been prone to addiction. Tramadol didn’t completely kill my back pain. I was also prescribed a muscle relaxer which really helped. But I liked the way Tramadol made me feel so I kept requesting the prescription. I’m still on it to this day.

    I had been up to 100mg 3X per day at one time. Over the years I reduced myself down to just 50mg 1X per day and I’ve been stuck at that level for the last year. This is just enough to get me through a work day. By late afternoon the withdrawal symptoms come on: Irritability, anxiety and restless legs. I don’t sleep well. I often wake up in the middle of the night one or more times unable to fall back to sleep for an hour or more.

    I tried to quit about 6 months ago when I had been at the 50mg/day rate for about 6 months. I stopped taking it for 3 weeks. I thought I was going to beat it. The problem was that I wasn’t functioning normally at all. I could only focus for 3-4 hours in a day. After 3-4 hours I would have to go to a quiet place to block out the world. I would usually nap for 2 hours and then the day was shot. I am fortunate to have a flexible full-time job but this was pushing the limits too far. After 3 weeks I restarted Tramadol.

    I am on a search to find a way to quit without going into a rehab facility. If I find a way I’ll update you all.

  4. Jim
    Seattle WA

    Oh yes, even dropping 100mg a day can produce withdrawal. My experience. Insomnia despite a long history of no problem sleeping. Flu-like symptoms. Mood issues such as anxiety, sadness. Difficulty focusing sometimes, but that could be the insomnia.

    Body temp regulation problems; cold/hot at night and a bit during the day. Severe symptoms subsided in a week or so, noticeably better every day. Insomnia and general mood take longer, I think.

    Get yourself in prime health. Good sleep hygiene, exercise, daylight, companionship, nutritious food, B-12 supplements, can help a lot.

    • Sonya

      I was on tramadol for about 6 years for psoriatic arthritis and chronic lower back pain. At my highest point in that time, I was taking 240 per month! That’s about 8 per day! Realizing how much medicine that really is, I decided to quit and take the very minimum amount of all medicines. I tried cold turkey and my body got really pissed! So I weaned myself! I went from 240-180 in a month, then from 180-90 the next, 90-60, 60-45, then 45-30…

      I tried my hardest to only take them when I absolutely felt like I was outta control. It was about a 6 month process. In the last month, I would take 1/4 size pieces instead of the whole thing until i eventually quit. I’ve been off since May 13, 2017! Yay!! I still To this day have restless leg syndrome, which I call restless body spasms! My body does not want to be still.

      It jerks and gets really “angry”, like I want to hit and kick for no reason. Symptoms I had while cutting myself off were, easily aggravated, sleepless nights/days, loss of appetite, uncontrollable emotions, chills, hot flashes, loss of any desire, etc…. Things I have found that help ease the symptoms while weaning yourself: push through! No matter how bad you want to lay in bed and cry, get up and suck it up! It won’t last forever! Prayer!

      So many times my thoughts went down the drain…. and I thought I can see why people kill themselves! And coming off of it, I can see why people get depressed! But going against those feelings and facing them with faith and prayer are excellent ways to destroy those feelings. Along with weed. If you can, get some. I tell you, it was/is a life saver! It helps with nausea, mood, appetite, sleep, calming, etc…. as well as pain! So my hats off to prayer and pot! Haha!! With all sincerity, I wish all of y’all the best! It’s hard, hang in there!

  5. Richard

    I’ve been taking Tramadol for the past 5 years for lower back pain, the doctor should have explained the side effects and how addictive they would be. I have had many of the symptoms listed on here when trying to come off them but I’ve not read the one thing I need to know, if I keep taking these tablets are they going to harm my body in a critical way, if not why stop taking them as my back pain will always be there?

    • Augie

      I felt the same way bout it. If it helps me and there is no long-term issue, why stop? The problem is that if you suddenly can’t get the drug you’re in trouble. I know from experience that what the article above says is true…

      “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.”

      This makes Tramadol is a unique opioid. There doesn’t seem to be any substitute. I don’t know how it’s treated in the UK but in the US the doctors are resistant to prescribing it ever since it become a controlled substance.

  6. Tim
    WA State

    When I was in my mid 20’s I was a Heroin addict. I injected it many times a day for about 5 years. I shouldn’t need to say how bad the withdrawls were.

    I was in trouble with the law at the time so I couldnt go into hospitals. But I needed something to help come off the Heroin. I knew my mother also struggled with back pain and was given controlled opiates for them because she told me many times. I met with her and thought I was saved. She told me she had a bottle full of unused 10mg Oxycodone but she said she no longer took them. I felt so hopeless, had a panic attack, and started becoming suicidal. She told me “these are not narcotic but they might help you.” They were Tramadol. I had never heard of them before. Anyways she gave me 3 of them, and within 30 minutes I felt 100 times better. No vomiting, no craving for Heroin, and unusually high euphoria. An hour later she went into the bathroom and I took 3 from her bottle. I then felt high. A different high than narcotics, but I loved it.

    I then asked around and found someone who sold them in bulk for dirt cheap. So my new addiction began. Long story short, after 2 years of abusing upwards of 20 pills of Tramadol a day, the guy was arrested, and I couldn’t get more.

    All I am going to say is even though I went through 2 drug addictions, suffer from both depression and anxiety, I considered myself a happy man. That was until the Tramadol withdrawl started.

    In my VERY experienced and honest answer, HEROIN WITHDRAWL IS A JOKE COMPARED TO TRAMADOL. I wanted to die they were so bad. I wasnt suicidal, I just WISHED more than anything it would stop. After 5 days I said to hell with this, turned myself into jail and got clean through detoxing in jail then completing an excellent rehab program.

    I am 33 now, about 4 years clean from everything. Tramadol is the worst drug ever invented and I’ve done them all. Withdrawl wise anyways.

  7. Sarah
    New zealand

    I only take it at bed time as I have polymyalgia and also tarsal tunnel in both feet …the pain keeps me from sleeping so I take it only at bed time now for a little over a year. What I do notice now is that in the late afternoon as I get closer to bed time I start having withdrawal symptoms I get brain zaps blurred vision sometimes a headache or agitation and it is only relieved after I take my evenings dose….. So I concede that you don’t have to abuse the substance or even take it in high doses to have withdrawal

  8. David

    I was prescribed Tramadol for chronic low -back pain. I only took it for 3 or 4 months starting at 2- 50 mg per day, slowly increasing to 5 – 50 mg per day. I realized that I was getting addicted so, without knowing any better, I stopped cold turkey. I started to feel a bit uncomfortable a few days later but then felt fine for a week. But THAT’s when the bomb was dropped on me. I became extremely anxious and went into a very deep depression.

    I was extremely moody and nasty, had horrible night sweats for weeks and was thinking more and more about suicide. I couldn’t eat a thing and I lost 14 pounds in 2 weeks. My back pain was so magnified and my brain so messed up that I simply couldn’t function anymore. I had crying fits for several days for no reason. When my doctor saw me, she couldn’t believe how horrible I looked. I was taking Cymbalta for years and since Tramadol affects both serotonin and norpinephrine , I came down with Serotonin Syndrome and then my Serotonin crashed.

    During my severely weakened state, I also contracted Mono which made me even weaker. I was prescribed both Prednisone and Vistaril and started to feel better after a week but I was out of work for a month because I simply could not function. If you try to do cold turkey, the same hell that I went through might happen to you. You either have to taper your dose slowly or not even take it at all. I recommend the latter because when you withdrawl from Tramadol, you going to experience the worst living hell of your life for several week or even longer.

    • kushal

      can u interact and talk with friends and parents?
      how long it lasts?

  9. Pete

    Interesting. I had NO withdrawal whatsoever after taking maximum dose. (400 mg a day.) Norco was horrible and my doctor says the withdrawal syndrome will last a year. This article is totally one-sided and a bunch of BS. You need to say “some people,” not “people” when making your generalizations.

    • Terry Graedon

      Thank you for the reminder that “some people” is always a more appropriate statement about side effects of drugs or of discontinuing them.

  10. PAT
    Philadelphia, PA

    After 5 weeks of withdrawing from small amount like less than 50 mg a day, I am experiencing severe brain fog and have begun to sleep during the day. Please comment. It doesn’t say anything about extreme amount sleeping in the day.

  11. Charlotte

    I’ve been taking Tramadol again, for nearly 3 years. I was previously addicted to them for over a year.

    I live in the UK, I thought I would mention this as most people seem to be from the States on this thread.

    Myself and my entire group of friends have used Tramadol recreationally since we were around 16. My Mum was diagnosed with Cancer of the Lympnodes and I first tried them then, when the Doctor prescribed her them for coming home from hospital. I loved the feeling of Euphoria and high energy you get from Tramadol but this only happens in the beginning.

    Tramadol have completely destroyed my life this time round. It’s a well known side effect that they not only cause depression but make you completely loose interest in life and all things around you. They’ve destroyed my relationship with my husband because they make you so numb and selfcentred, they give a complete loss of libido which is driving him insane. In the end he really thought it was him and I didn’t love him or wasn’t attracted to him anymore.

    Even though that made me feel terrible, I still chose to do nothing about it because I wasn’t physically capable. The feeling just wasn’t there.

    Tramadol have completely changed the structure of my face and I’m not the only person to notice this. My nose has became twice the size it was and the same thing has happened to my sister, she’s been using tramadol for 10 years now.

    Tramadol is also thought to be linked to body dysmophia, I can well believe that and it would explain why parts of my body completely repulse me now.

    At one point, I always put people above myself and met their needs before my own, which is a quality about myself that I loved. But now I’m all for myself and completely selfish.

    Tramadol make you paranoid, I have thoughts now that I never would have dreamt of 4 years ago. I spent such a long time trying to convince myself, it wasn’t the Tramadol but I’ve now had to come to accept that Tramdol is the main source of problems in my life.

    The withdrawal is not horrendous if you know what you’re looking for. We build it up in our heads and put it on a pedestal and I think this is partly an excuse to keep usuing.

    I’m genuinely in a really difficult situation as I know a lot of others will be too. I have very little family support and I don’t know how I could do a withdrawal from Tramadol and look after two children.

    The muscle spasm in my right arm is the worst part about it for me. I can remember one night I went down stairs and rested the entire weight of my sofa on my right arm. Nothing made it stop, I felt like I was going insane.

    For now I just have to wait until I have the help to get off these horrendous things.

    I just wanted to post this incase some one else out there was having these symptoms and maybe they thought it’s them. Well it’s not. Everything I’ve talked about, if you search hard enough on the internet it can all be found.

    Good luck in your journeys to freedom.

  12. Yorky

    I was prescribed tramadol about a year and 1/ 2 ago.I actually asked for it because my brother was taking it for pain and it worked well.I was prescribed 2 x (37.5 mg tramadol with 325mg acetmetaphin) as needfor pain.Istarted with 2 pills in the morning and needed 2more by bedtime.There were times that I took 6 pills per day when needed.All was well until I was told that this drug was a bich to get off of.I decide to cutback and was on 4 pills a day for a month then 2 pills a day for a month with no problems.I now wantedoff the pill completely because I feltI no longer needed it for pain.Wow what an eye opener this was!
    Day1—-sneezing,runny nose,insomnia,restlessness in legs and arms and the sweats
    Day2—-same as day 1 with a total of maybe 3 hours of sleep in the 2 days.
    Day3—-the worst symtoms are the not being able to sleep because of restlessness in the arms and legs and sweats.

    I find that hot showers will reduce the restlessness enough that you may be able to get a few hours sleep at a time.I am mid day 3 and this is a terrible drug to get off of.I asked for this drug for pain but the withdrawls are much worse than the pain.I have about 300 pills still but do not plan on taking them.
    Tramadol might be fine to take for periodic pain for a day or two with no withdrawl effects.If taken any longer than that expect horid withdral effects.

    • Nicola

      Hi there , uk based also .
      I just wanted to say your not alone , I’m going through more or less the exact same , I know I need to come off these , currently I’m on the verge off addiction and it’s starting to change my life , im feeling unsure and don’t know what to do :/ however I really feel for you !

    • Solomon

      I know how you feel, trust me. I’m going through the exact same thing :( I really wish there was someone I could talk to about this, but there’s no one, I’m completely depersonalized, the paranoia is really unbearable, stomach cramps, insomnia, anxiety and other symptoms, and I’ve been going through this for over 14 months now. I really hope God makes a way for me sooner cos it’s cut off so many plans. Hope to hear from you

    • Michelle

      I was very concerned about getting addicted to any drug. I have a torn labrum in my hip, arthritis, spinal stenosis and whatever. Pain management gave me cyclozobenzapine 4 x daily and tramadol x 3. I slept 17 hours and screamed at my family for the other 7. I spoke to satin.

      So, after considering eating all the pills because that is what I thought my life would consist of pain and pills. I quit cold turkey with the help of cannabis. Now I will only take one pill in a 24 hour period. Even then I have withdrawals. Right around the 24 hour mark my muscles will lock and twitch. I feel anxiety as I know it’s going to happen and I cannot stop it.

      Although cannabis will ease some of the anxiety it will not stop the muscle contractions. After 10 -20 minutes it goes away. I do find my memory and attention is short for a couple days after with hand shaking. Problem is I need something for pain that won’t kill my stomach like alleve as I over did it with the over counter meds.

      So, basically, I use cannabis now. I feel better about the side effects of something natural that has seeds and comes from the ground vs a chemical produced by some people in a lab who have no idea how it will affect those who take it. Cannabis has been around longer than anyone walking the planet. I’m going with God’s free gift.

      It does help withdrawals. It doesn’t take away all of the pain, but neither did tramadol, which I always thought felt like a 2 beer buzz. And they always mad me mouthy.

  13. lesley

    been on tramadol for over 2years but are trying to get of them but when I try not taking any my legs become very restless is this normal for me to feel like this

    • Ih8tram

      On it for 8 years. Never increased my dose of 350mg a day, never “abused it. IT WAS HELL GETTING OFF IT! I swear I died every day, all day long tapering off of this horrific medication. Finally, took my last 1/2 of a pill in April 2017!

      I don’t care, I am one bad chick for this, so thankful to be on the other side now! If you were like me with this medicine, you now Hate this medicine. I did it with the help of clonidine. Oh, and I decided on my own to detox from it. I wanted my body to start over. God be with you and seek help from a physician, Don’t go at it alone.

  14. Jacqueline
    United states

    I thought I could quit tramadol cold turkey. After on the third day I begin to get sick with flu like symptoms but no fever (sinus and respotory inflammation). It was so bad that on the 4th. Day I had to take another tramadol to slow down the flu like symptoms and have some energy. So went to the doctor he is weaning me off.

    But these flu like symptoms is horrible. Also the first two days I kept yawning, and yawning. So flu like symptoms, yawning, and body aches some what like some times it’s hard for me to just move. Walking becomes very strenuous.

    • PAT
      Philadelphia, PA

      I was taking usually no more than half of 50 mg tramadol, this very rotten drug. I began to taper with doctor help 7 weeks ago. I have gone thru pure hell with my blood presssure up and down, severe anxiety, panic attack, insomnia, blurred vision, and now in 7th week still cannot see well. Feels like something wrong with vision. I feel angry with my family. I have no idea of how to feel ok. Or half ok. My thinking is not how it should be. I feel paranoid, anxious and unable to function. I dont clean house, eat good food, go anywhere anymore. Such a burden on us is Tramadol. I am 78 and so very discouraged. This is against DO NO HARM. But I guess the FDA could care less as they do not go by the Hippocratic oath as doctors should. But do they???? Maybe not.

  15. B

    Found a infrared pain light that I bought over ten years ago. Never even opened it, have been using instead of tremadol, have had great results, thank God!!!!

  16. B
    USA-south carolina

    So glad to find this page. Have had some of these bad side effects related to tremadol. I have had the nerve jerking, depression, skin breakouts, out of body experiences,blurred vision,chills,sleep loss, fatigue. I did not connect it to the medicine, until a few days ago, I have been taking it for almost a year. I have never been on opioids, before.

    I have been dealing with a nerve, muscle condition??? for four years.thought that it was migraine headaches, at first. Kind of worked through that course, for six months, and it returned, with a vengeance.

    My doctor sent me to a newly established pain doctor in my area in July 2015 and he put me on tremadol.I am so glad that I found this Page, now I know the whys of all these strange things that I have encountered . And will seek a different path.

  17. steve

    stumbled across this site and haven’t read through it but i thought i would share my experience. maybe it will help someone. sorry if i am repeating something already written.

    i had shoulder surgery and dolcet was the pain killer given to me. first i.v. then pills. i was in the hospital for 2 days post-op, and then i took pills for 4 days (can’t remember my dosages but pills 3x daily). i stopped taking the pills because the pain wasn’t bad anymore (actually never was–maybe the tramadol was working well). i had no problems except when trying to sleep. i would then get a fairly intense sensation of “restless leg” where i couldn’t get rid of the sensation of needing to move my legs. so sleep was difficult. not an enjoyable experience– i would much rather have just dealt with the pain.
    the important part for me:
    went to the doctor and described what was happening and he nonchalantly said no problem and gave me a prescription for Lyrica 75 mg. PROBLEM SOLVED ON THE FIRST NIGHT. after 3 days i stopped the lyrica and all was well. i now keep some lyrica with me when i travel because i don’t want to experience those symptoms again.
    i’m sure those who’ve been using tramadol long term may have much rougher withdrawal than what i dealt with but if you haven’t tried the Lyrica it is certainly worth a try.
    i still take tramadol for some back and hip pain. it is a big help but of course i try and be careful with it. one half of a 75mg pill in the morning (if taken in the afternoon it affects my sleep), two days on and then a day without. may try and stretch to 2 days off but the pain then slows me down. so far no symptoms on the days i don’t take it.

  18. Sam
    New York

    The withdrawal off this drug is the worst I’ve ever experienced. I’m a long time poly drug addict and abused Tramdol at around 1000mg a day which is 20 50mg pills. I bought 200mg pills on the internet overseas through the darknet. After tapering to 400mg a day I ran out. I have no doubt that if i jumped at 1000mg I would have had to be hospitalized for the withdrawl.

    The drug lingers in your system longer than most opiates and builds up, making withdrawal worse. The drug targets multiple neurotransmitter systems and the withdrawal symptoms are very intense, diverse, and long lasting. The first week was absolute hell. Just unrelenting torture.

    The second night I was convulsing and jerking around like I was being electrocuted due to an awful restlessness in my arms and legs that made me move them around. I would try try to hug myself as hard as I could to stop it. I pulled muscles in the arms from shaking them and throwing them out so hard. Any clothes I wore would be soaked in 5 minutes. No sleep was possible. Forget trying to read or watch anything for longer than 30 seconds. I’d pace for hours while swinging my arms for a tiny bit of relief. By the 4th night I was literally screaming and pleading with God to make it stop. I contemplated suicide many times.

    On the 5th night I fell asleep for the first time. The restlessness stopped for a second while attampting to eat and bowl of cereal sitting in bed. I was out instantly. The cold milk hitting my lap woke me back up. I laid down thinking I could fall asleep. No dice. I started pacing again and would literally have microsleeps standing up between steps. Soon my body’s need to sleep overpowered the withdrawal and I got a few hours.

    If you’ve ever experienced withdrawal from some antidepressants you’ve probably had something called “brain zaps”, which is a withdrawal symptom from Serotonin. Since Tramadol also increases Serotonin you will feel this weird symptom. You will have these for at least a week to a month. You will have terrible fatigue. It took every ounce of strength and willpower just to walk my dog. And I may not treat myself too well but I love animals and especially him and would never neglect him. Sometimes I had a friend help me.

    On day 6 i got my hands on some Suboxone, which did help but not totally. Suboxone is made for withdrawal off herion and the like, not Tramadol, but it did take the worst of the edge off.

    I could go on, but this is already too long.

    Do not use this drug. It builds up in your systems and a taper is less effective. If you need to get off this you need a very long taper if possible and time to get through the worst of it.

    I’ve said ‘I’m never going to use this drug again’ to a few different drugs, but did again anyway. The promise will be kept with this one, I assure you.

  19. Mazie

    Lost 20 lbs in 5 months taking Tramadol. Have stopped now. Feel shaky and jittery but not taking any more. I’ll put up with the pain and just use Tylenol! I keep thinking I’m dying and I was only taking 50 mg 2x’s a day and sometimes only 1 a day. How could so little get me so messed up??

    • Ih8tram

      I am so overwhelmingly happy for you. I commented earlier and stated that I use to take 350mg a day for 8 years. It was prescribed, I never increased this dose. I decided i wanted to stop all my medications and start my body over. This included adderall and lorazepam as well. The withdrawals from the Tramadol were so horrendous that I can’t remember if the other two even caught my attention in the process.

      I always knew the withdrawals would be bad though because if I took a tram dose late or missed one, the symptoms set in immediately. Like, they started fast and built momentum until I dosed. Good God women and men, stay away from this medication! Clonidine helped me taper down effectively. It’s been 5 months now. Thank God.

  20. Joan
    Kamloops BC Canada

    Just wondering why I should go off of Tramadol if it’s helping my symptoms. Is there a health hazard from taking it? I have been taking it for a number of years now.

    • Terdra
      Ashville, OH

      In my experience, Joan, the best reason for getting off them or not starting them in the first place is the terrible withdrawal symptoms when you can’t get them. I’ve been on them for 22 years, and my doctor let me be out two days before refilling my prescription (they were way past fill time), and by the evening of the 11th day (when he called it in to the pharmacy), I was a pain-wracked, floor-walking, jerky-legged, brain-fogged, half-blind mess. I’m still on mine because they work great for what ails me, and I can’t tolerate withdrawal, but they are extremely addictive. Like most other drugs, though, some people don’t have withdrawal symptoms when they quit tramadol, and if you ever want to quit, I honestly hope you’re one of them.

  21. Laura S.
    Lewistown Pa

    My Dr did a horrible thing to me with this medication of Tramadol 200 ER one a day for a month. Before that I was on Oxycodone 15 when he switched me to the Tramadol, but not before he caused me to go through withdrawal from the oxcycodone because he left me hanging for 6 weeks on NOTHING. Then after much suffering he gave me the Tramadol for a month. Now, I went back to get my refill but he said he couldn’t give me anything. So now it’s been 3 days on NOTHING again, and I’m going nuts. I had every muscle in my legs, feet, and groin hurt, and that kept me up screaming all night for two nights. This is my 3rd night, and I’m feeling like I can pass out. Getting dizzy and can’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time. I don’t know if going off cold turkey with nothing to take is going to cause me to end up in the ER tonight. I pray it’s not as bad tonight but I also have dizziness, shakiness, insomnia, stomach hurting, can’t eat very much, and I’m diabetic, and also take 5 blood pressure pills every day as I have a bad heart too. I have many health issues and have had a cage put in my neck and fusions that didn’t work and low back surgery. That was also another fusion that did not work. So I also have pins and rods in my low back.

    I have plenty of reason to be on pain meds but they are saying the government is deciding who gets meds and who doesn’t. Guess if you pay for them maybe they will let me have them but $240.00 for 14 pills? I don’t have that king of money. Not up to the Drs anymore so I’m 3 days, and this is my 3rd night, of withdrawal from the 200 ER tramadol. I’m very concerned about passing out tonight, and the pain is uncontrollable I have to be up at 5 am to go to an appt in Danville for another appt for a separate matter but how well can I handle going from Lewiston all the way to Danville on public transport. I will be crazy in pain and withdrawal symptoms. I just don’t know if I will be well enough to go. I’m scared as I can’t walk very well either.

  22. kay
    South carolina

    I was on a 300 mg dose of tramadol ( I think ER) for lower back pain. I took it at bedtime for over a year. A couple of times I missed a dose/ night & the next day was so sick & restless, especially restless leg if I tried to lay down. I didn’t figure this out until the third time this happened that it was related to skipping the tramadol. My back was doing so much better my doctor and I decided okay I could stop taking it. By the next morning I called and told them you CANNOT quit this cold turkey! The dr. Gave me a lower dose for aweek, then lower again. …plus a clonid in patch and something for nausea. The restlessness, restless leg, upset stomach was first, then when only on clonid in patch I had the sneezing and fatigue and upset stomach and still the insomnia. I resorted to taking 2 benadryl every night, which didn’t do much, but eventually I would fall asleep. I am so glad my doctor understood and gave me these patches for a month or I think I would have died from anxiety and restlessness.

    • Gordon

      Tramadol is a very old off-patent drug originating from Germany. It is expensive in some countries and cheap in others. In N America it is expensive, but in Germany, Austria and almost all parts of S America it is very cheap and you do not need a prescription to get it, e.g. in Colombia you can get the oral or pill form for 3 USD for 30 tablets or 3 USD for 10ml (I think 10 – it might be more).

      You have to be disciplined and strong to move beyond unnecessary usage. Everyone is different, but for me my L4 and L5 was compressed due to a sporting accident. I found that I gained weight and that of course was not good for my lower spine. So I just started doing a lot of physiotherapy, stretching and of course stopped eating as much. With time there was less pressure on my spine (imagine your spine having to hold an extra 10kg everyday ..) Even 5kg weigh loss can help. Then after you do this you can start tapering and move down to half a 50mg tablet per day and then finally you stop.

      I still felt flu like issues for a week afterwards, but nothing compared to the other comments about sweating or not sleeping. But I know these side affects are real and I suppose the answer is not in taking more drugs, but rather trying to find ways to reduce pain (osteopathy, physio, movement, eating better, etc.) Obviously I told myself that I needed the tramadol for the legitimate pain I was feeling, but I believe that I abused it to enjoy the energy it gave me and of course reducing the pain. I would never take it again though. The hard path provides more rewards in the end… and for me the hard path was trying to find other ways to reduce the pain. Best of luck!

  23. bab
    New Jersey

    I was on tramadol for 3 years 50 mg 2x’s daily….. never increased or decreased…. had surgery and surgeon stopped it. 10 days out and I broke in to hives head to toe and ended up in hospital for 5 days still feel very weak but no intention of ever taking this drug again…… flu like symptoms and no one knew about it…I never hid any of my medical records so surprised no one even considered it at all….. very rough drug to stop cold turkey.

  24. A

    So, I’ve been on and off tramadol for six years. I’ve gone through withdraw from it countless times. It’s evil.. for a medication to not feel like a typical “narcotic” but give you worse withdrawal than one is beyond me. I’ve gone up to a year without it, but have gone back on due to injuries or surgeries.

    High doses of gabapentin help. It will allow sleep. Also, Kratom. I’ve used it for my last two attempts at coming off. It works. I’ve slept for the last week since I stopped. Ive been active, my body temp stays regulated and the only symptom I feel is a general blah. It can be done. And it should be done sooner than later. I’ve never tapered, it doesn’t work for me.

    I used to think I needed them to do anything. But, I hardly did anything on them. I’ve been much more of an adult in the last week going through withdrawal and using kratom then the last year fully on tramadol at two or three pills a day three or four times a day.

    • Terdra
      Ashville, OH

      A, I’ve thought about Kratom, but I don’t know which one. What kind did you use? My sis and my son use two different kinds for different reasons.

  25. Chad
    Gaston, SC

    Didn’t order my Tramadol soon enough from the VA. Knowing there was some withdrawal I cut back a few days ago to stretch it till this week when my script comes. I went from 100 2x day to 50 2x day. Man, complete restlessness in legs and well pretty much whole body.

    Can’t sleep but that’s just the physical part. It really sucks when you feel like all you can do is walk from one end of the house to the other and back and forth.. Just restless but I can handle it. However, last Fri, Sat by brain went into doom and gloom mode. My mind brings up every bad moment in my life that I never want to think about again and just major depression, something that isn’t normally an issue for me…. enough so I jumped on the net looking for answers and ended up here.

    Everything everyone is saying is right on the money. I’ve made the decision when my script does come in that I am not taking more than I am right now. When I get use to this dose I’m gonna cut it again but in lower increments.

    Glad I found this today because at least now I know i’m not going crazy….. still feeling everything but not as bad. On my 5th day and I have had bouts with depression today but it hasn’t taken me over. I will come off of this as soon as I can but I know its going to take time…

    • Rachelle

      What you said about “doom and gloom” and “every bad moment” is an exact mirror to my life right now.

      I have been on Tramacet for 5 years due to a huge DVT. The pain is sometimes unbearable! But Tramacet is supposed to be only temporary.

      I am tapering off but it is not going well. A doctor of functional medicine has suggested glutathione suppositories to help with the detox and withdrawl symptoms. Hope it works.

  26. Stefani R

    My prescription for Tramdol has not been renewed for thtee weeks. I have been taking that medication for over 30 years. Under different names in the past,but always with the same effect…to reduce joint pain.

    Now, I am experiencing side effects such as flu symptoms…sneezing for one. Also blurred vision for several days.

    • Simona

      I’m so relieved to find that someone else experiences the sneezing and flu with Tramadol. I miss one dose and I have terrible flu like symptoms. When I tell people that I’m sneezing because I missed a dose of painkiller they look at me like I’m crazy ??

  27. Georgina
    West Yorkshire

    I am glad I found this comments section, it’s been really useful to learn about the withdrawal symptoms I am going through. I was given tramadol for fibromyalgia pain and migraines. According to the box I can take 50mg up to 4 x a day. I have never been brave enough to take more than 1 x twice a day. This is a really strong medication that doesn’t do as much for pain personally as it does for changing my outlook. I have been taking it for almost 2 years and reached a point that I know my body well enough, that it isn’t good for me.

    I have gone through the chills and night sweats without realizing it was tramadol. I started weaning myself off it about three weeks ago and am aiming to stop taking it over the next week. It’s a horrible drug and one I do not wish to use again. Thank you for all the comments, they have made me realize I am not crazy it’s the withdrawal. Good luck to everyone else coming off it too.

    • Eve
      Long island

      My rx had to be ordered, pharmacy was out. The sneezing , coughing and choking is awful. Just put it all together today. This has happened to me before. Ugh

  28. Brian
    Roseville, CA

    I just found out that my ex-girlfriend has been abusing Tramadol for about 2 years. She has been using animals to take to several vets, and then pick up a prescription. She is the mother of my 3 year-old daughter so its very scary. She is 29 years old, and in the last 2 months she has had 2 serious seizures. I just found out last week that she has been taking 25-30 50mg tramadol a day. Now she is trying to come off of them and is having severe problems and is wanting to get on suboxone. Basically she is a junky, and it’s disgusting that she is trying to act perfect and take custody of my daughter from me. My daughter has witnessed both of her seizures.

    • A

      Please don’t think she is a “junky.”

      Tramadol is a very weird drug. It doesn’t make you feel “high” in the typical sense. The high anti depressant aspect in it makes you feel competent while on it. The narcotic aspect is basically as strong as codiene. The withdrawal is said to worse then heroin.

      I’ve never done heroin so I can’t say, but it’s bad. You literally can’t imagine a worse feeling. That’s why people go to those lengths to obtain them. Having a child and stopping is almost impossible to some. The fear of not being able to take care of your child probably drove her to stop withdrawal at any cost.

      Remember, these pills are marketed as non addicting and non narcotic. Every single person that has been on these for over a month will experience some withdrawal, it doesn’t matter if you are not an “addict.” Give her some support, because it’s the hardest thing she will ever do.

      • Pete

        WHO says the withdrawal is worse than heroin???

  29. Melissa
    San pedro,Ca

    I have been taking Tramadol, 50 milligrams 4 times a day for six years. I was originally prescribed it for her pain from hip dysplasia and later on for fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Eventually I also added Percocet 3 times a day along with a multitude of NSAIDs.

    I am recovering addict alcoholic and of come to a point in my recovery where I want to know that I’m only taking what I absolutely need. I need to know that my personality isn’t being affected by these medications. I just continue the Percocet with no issues whatsoever. I am now 7 days off of the Tramadol and from day one I have had runny nose, night sweats and insomnia, constant diarrhea irritability and agitation comma muscle aches and pains, and Mild depression with the unwillingness to get up and do anything. I detox myself from heroin over 15 years ago and alcohol 10 years ago and it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as this.

    Fortunately I am currently on disability and don’t have to worry about not going into work but my house is a mess my marriage is being affected but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel period Tramadol is no joke and I don’t ever want to be on it again

    • Melissa

      Discontinued Percocet. I no longer take any narcotics

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