How Long Does Tramadol Last And Other Important Info About Tramadol

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How Long Does Tramadol Last And Other Important Info About Tramadol

How long does Tramadol last? This is a common question amongst users and those in the healthcare industry.

There are a lot of medications and prescriptions out there. So many of them, in fact, that it can sometimes be hard to keep them straight and know what prescriptions are potentially addictive, and which ones aren’t. 

Unfortunately, tramadol isn’t the only prescription medication that is also available on the black market as a drug of abuse. And, since tramadol is also a opioid, it can be a particularly popular drug of misuse, which makes it that much more important for more people to know about the drug, how it’s used, why it can be addictive, and what kinds of help are available to people who are addicted to it. 

Here’s how long tramadol lasts, why it’s prescribed, common side effects, and more information about the risk of addiction and what you can do about it. 

What Is Tramadol?

Before we jump into the lasting effects of Tramadol, let’s take a closer look at what Tramadol is and is used for exactly.

Tramadol is an opioid pain medication meant for use with moderate to severe pain. It’s a little less potent than some of the other opioid pain medications on the market, which means it can potentially be useful in a wider range of situations. 

On the other hand, prescribing any opioid medication opens patients up to risk of misuse and addiction, and sometimes a weaker pain medication, which may not completely cover pain, can be just as risky or riskier than a stronger pain medication that completely controls pain. 

That said, the amount of tramadol you take can also be a little more flexible than other medications, which gives your doctor the option of starting on a low dose and slowly increasing how much tramadol you take until you find the right dose. 

That can be helpful for avoiding addiction because it means you’re able to take the smallest possible dose, which is a good way to reduce dependence on the drug in your body. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that can fully eliminate the risk of addiction when you’re taking tramadol, which means that some small percentage of people will develop addiction to the medication, even when it is being used properly. 

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid, which means it works the same way as other opioid medications, but that isn’t directly derived from opium poppies, unlike morphine and some other opiate medications. The fact that the opioid is synthetic doesn’t significantly change how the drug functions. 

why is tramadol prescribed

Why Is Tramadol Prescribed?

There are a few different reasons tramadol might be prescribed, and the potential for prescribing tramadol is a little wider than some other opioid medications both because this medication isn’t as strong, for most people, and because the liquid form of the medication can give doctors and patients extreme control over the exact dose needed to control pain. 

There are two basic forms of tramadol, a rapid release that is designed for acute pain and doesn’t last as long, and an extended-release formula that offers round-the-clock medication for pain. 

Both forms of tramadol have similar effects and side effects and come with similar risks. The only main difference is how long they last, and therefore, what kinds of pain they are best at controlling. 

Some doctors might consider tramadol before other opioid pain medications since it’s not quite as strong as other kinds of opioids. 

Tramadol may also be better for controlling chronic pain without causing an addiction in some cases, though not in others. 

Common Tramadol Side Effects

All medications have some side effects and risks that come with taking them. Most people have few side effects, or none at all, from most medications, and the most common side effects are usually the least severe. 

However, opioid medication can have some serious side effects, and tramadol specifically should not be used if you have a seizure disorder because there is a risk of tramadol causing a seizure. Combining tramadol with certain antidepressants, or other opioid medications may also increase the risk of seizures

Common side effects of tramadol include: 

    • Constipation

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Dizziness

    • Drowsiness (do not drive on this medication)

    • Stomach pain

    • Headache

    • Tiredness

  • Itching

More serious side effects need immediate medical attention, and can include: 

    • Noisy breathing, especially during sleep

    • Shallow breathing

    • Slow heart rate

    • Seizures

  • Low cortisol levels, signaled by severe nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, and tiredness.

So, How Long Does Tramadol Last? 

So, how long does Tramadol last actually? Most people who take tramadol are instructed to take the medication every 4-6 hours, or as needed, for pain relief. Some people may notice that they can go longer than that without needing more, while other people may start to feel pain again starting sooner than 4 hours after their last dose. 

It’s important not to take more tramadol in less than 4 hours or else you risk overdose. People who are addicted to tramadol, or using the drug recreationally instead of with a prescription, are at even greater risk of an overdose compared with people who have a prescription because their bodies can’t use the drug in the same way. 

Time-release versions of tramadol are available that last longer, from 12-24 hours, and it’s just as important not to take more of these medications before they wear off, otherwise you may be at risk of an overdose, and the overdose may be more delayed, which means you may not notice the symptoms as quickly or be able to get medical attention as quickly. 

Like many other drugs, tramadol is still in your body even after it stops being effective. What testing method you use can make a big difference in how long you have to detect tramadol, as well as what concentration of the drug is likely to be discovered. 

Tramadol is detectible in saliva for up to 48 hours, in blood for 48 hours, in urine for up to 3 days, and in hair for 1-3 months after the drug is used. 

Risks Of Taking Tramadol

All medications also come with some risks, in addition to the known and predictable side effects. In some cases, the risks can be mitigated, either with regular testing or other treatments and in other cases, some medications may be ruled out because of certain conditions or other medications you take. 

One of the risks of taking tramadol without a prescription is that you don’t have a doctor or pharmacist helping make sure the drug is safe for you to use with your other medications. 

Pain medications in general have a lot of potential interactions with other medications, which can make them particularly risky to take without a prescription. 

Risks of taking tramadol include seizures, the risk of addiction, and risk of overdose, especially when the drug is being misused. 

Tramadol is considered one of the safer opioid medications and actually wasn’t thought to be an opioid until 2014 after it had already been in use for almost 20 years. 

The drug was reclassified not because of new discoveries about its molecular structure or function, but because of the risk of addiction and how people responded similarly to tramadol as other opioid medications. 

Is Tramadol Addictive? 

Yes, though tramadol may be less addictive than other opioids or opiate medications. We say maybe because the addictive potential of tramadol seems to vary a lot depending on why it’s being used, what population is using it, and even just the different doses available. 

There is a lot we still don’t know about how tramadol causes addiction, but there are a few things we know for sure. Using tramadol without a prescription, and without a good reason for using the medication, significantly increases your risk of addiction and can increase tramadol’s other potential risks as well. 

We also know that tramadol addiction generally looks and feels a lot like other kinds of opioid addiction, which means that people can quickly lose control over their use of the drug, often without realizing that they’ve lost control.

signs of tramadol addiction