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Ultram is a new type of pain reliever. Although it appears to work in part by blocking opioid recepters, it is not considered a narcotic.

It is prescribed for moderate to moderately severe pain, and is approximately as potent as Darvocet.

Side Effects and Interactions

Ultram may cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, constipation, headache, drowsiness, vomiting and itching.

Agitation and anxiety, weakness or fatigue, sweating, indigestion, dry mouth or diarrhea may also occur.

It is important to recognize that Ultram may affect a person’s coordination or impair their judgment, so that driving or operating machinery would be hazardous.

Report any symptoms or suspected side effects to your physician promptly.

Ultram is less effective when taken in conjunction with the anticonvulsant Tegretol, and a larger dose may be needed.

MAO inhibitor drugs, on the other hand (Eldepryl, Nardil, Parnate) appear to increase Ultram levels and may, therefore, increase the risk of seizures.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure this medicine is safe in combination with any other drugs you take.

Special Precautions

Large doses of Ultram carry a risk of seizures.

People with kidney disease or cirrhosis may need a lower dose of Ultram, as may the elderly.

Taking the Medicine

Ultram may be taken with or without meals, every four to six hours.

Maximum dose is 400 mg daily, except in those over 75 years, who should be limited to 300 mg per day or less.

If you would like to know more about tramadol (Ultram, Ultracel) and its side effects and potential for dependence as well as withdrawal symptoms, check out this Q&A.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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