This drug has boxed warnings from the FDA about possible dangerous effects:
Tramadol oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as an immediate-release and extended-release tablet. Tramadol also comes as an extended-release oral capsule. Immediate-release drugs are released into the body right away. Extended-release drugs are released into the body slowly over time.
Both tramadol oral tablets are also available as generic drugs. The immediate-release tablet is also available as the brand-name drug Ultram. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.
Tramadol is a controlled substance. This means it can only be used with a doctor’s close supervision.
Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Tramadol may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.
Tramadol belongs to a class of drugs called opioid agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
Tramadol works by changing how your brain senses pain. Tramadol is similar to substances in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins bind to receptors (parts of cells that receive a certain substance). The receptors then decrease the pain messages that your body sends to your brain. Tramadol works in a similar way to decrease the amount of pain your brain thinks you’re having.
Tramadol oral tablet may cause drowsiness. You should not drive, use heavy machinery, or perform any dangerous activities until you know how this drug affects you. Tramadol may also cause other side effects.
The more common side effects of tramadol can include:
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
Tramadol oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with tramadol are listed below.
Do not take these drugs with tramadol. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in the body. Examples of these drugs include:
Taking tramadol with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from those drugs. This is because the amount of those drugs in your body may be increased. Examples of these drugs include:
If you use tramadol with certain drugs, you may have more side effects. This is because the amount of tramadol in your body may be increased. If you take one of these drugs with tramadol, your doctor may monitor you more often. They may also adjust your tramadol dosage as needed. Examples of these drugs include:
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
This dosage information is for tramadol oral tablet. All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
This drug comes with several other warnings.
Tramadol can cause or worsen seizures. Your risk of seizures is higher if you’re taking other certain medications. These drugs include other opioid pain drugs or certain medications for depression, other mood disorders, or psychosis. If you take too much tramadol, you may be treated with a medication called naloxone. This drug also raises your risk of seizures.
Tramadol can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other opioids before. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).
The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase your risk of certain side effects from tramadol. These include slowed breathing, decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, or confusion. You should not drink alcohol while taking tramadol.
For people with seizures: If you have seizures or a history of seizures, tramadol can cause or worsen seizures. Talk with your doctor about whether tramadol is safe for you.
For people with mental health problems: If you have thoughts about intentionally hurting yourself, or have hurt yourself, do not take tramadol.
For people with addiction problems: If you have problems with addiction, such as addiction to alcohol or drugs, do not take tramadol. Also avoid this drug if you have a history of addiction.
For people with head injuries: Tramadol can increase the pressure inside your head. This can worsen your condition or make it harder for doctors to diagnose or find the cause of problems in your brain. Talk with your doctor about whether tramadol is safe for you.
For people with stomach problems: Tramadol can make certain stomach problems worse. It can also make it harder for doctors to diagnose or find the cause of problems. Talk with your doctor about whether tramadol is safe for you.
For people with kidney problems:
For people with liver problems:
For people with breathing problems: Tramadol may slow your breathing and cause shallow breathing. Shallow breathing means you take small, short breaths. If you already have a breathing problem, such as asthma, talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.
For pregnant women: Tramadol is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:
Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.
For women who are breastfeeding: Tramadol may pass into breast milk and cause serious effects in a child who is breastfed. These effects can include slowed breathing and death.
Tramadol isn’t recommended for use by breastfeeding women. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You’ll need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.
For seniors: The kidneys or liver of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Seniors 65 years of age and older are at higher risk of side effects from the extended-release forms of this drug.
Tramadol oral tablet is used for short-term or long-term treatment. Your length of treatment depends on how severe your pain is. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: Your pain may continue. If you stop taking the drug suddenly, you may have symptoms of withdrawal, which can include:
If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.
If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:
If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or seek guidance from the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or through their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.
How to tell if the drug is working: You should feel less pain.
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes tramadol oral tablet for you.
A prescription for this medication is refillable. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription. There’s a limit to the number of refills you can get for this prescription. You or your pharmacy may have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.
When traveling with your medication:
Your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:
You may need to have blood tests during your treatment with tramadol. The cost of these tests will depend on your insurance coverage.
Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for certain forms or brands of this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.
There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
Last medically reviewed on July 21, 2021