Since I answer question for MedHelp.org Addiction Forum and post my blogs there as well, I wanted to share with my readers here some of the wonderful and thoughtful comments I got to my blog about Tramadol. Please read carefully, there is a lot of good information there.
I stumbled upon this blog today and found it amazing.
For a while I though I was crazy with the problems I was having with Tramadol.
I’ve been in pain management for roughly a year with severe endometriosis, and at 25 years old I’ve been a little wary of taking the step of a hysterectomy. So I went in to pain management… I started with 120 – 7.5mg norco per month. After just a couple of months my doctor wanted to drop my dose but threw in 90- 50mg Tramadols, with directions to use it to elongate the time between Norco doses. I took it as prescribed for months and it was fine. Then I started to build a tolerance and had to take more of the Tramadol to get the benefits, and the doctor was still lessening my Norco. At this point I’m on 60 Norco per month, and 90 Tramadol. A few months ago the Tramadol ran out before the end of the month, and the withdrawls were awful! I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t sit still(Restless leg syndrome… I had restless body syndrome). After about a week the bulk of the withdrawls passed but I felt so unmotivated to do anything!
I told my doctor about this experience, and explained to him I would rather up the dose on the Norco, because the withdrawls from that have never been as bad for me as Tramadol are. He seemed to think I was crazy, and just said I need to focus on using the Tramadol more than the Norco, however I’ve learned otherwise.
I’m terrified to switch doctors and start over, but this is just a mess. I’m in and out of withdrawls, on the Tramadol and off the Tramadol. And my dosing fluctuates because I don’t think my doctor remembers or looks up what he gave me the month before, so sometimes I get 60 of them, sometimes 120.
I wish the best to anyone, but I’d never recommend extended daily use of Tramadol! Hydrocodone or Codeine are easier to get off, and there seems to be more that can help in symtom relief from those withdrawls, versus the withdrawls of Tramadol.
Such is life…
I’ve had a doctor blithely unaware of the addictive properties of opioids, only in this case it was codeine. I’d had to take it for a month for an attack of calcific tendinitis, and while the first time that happened three years previously (along with taking tramadol; it was acute calcific tendinitis that time, which even doctors call “excruciating”) I hadn’t had withdrawal problems, this time (no tramadol, just co-codamol) I did. So I rang my surgery, and the GP I got (not my usual one) told me that co-codamol isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms. Yeah, right. I googled it, found that valium is commonly used to help the withdrawal symptoms, but since I didn’t want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire, I ended up using valerian to help with the insomnia and jitteriness I was experiencing.
On the other hand, doctors can be over-cautious with potentially addictive meds. I have PMDD, and had to wait two years before anyone even suggested using valium for it. I only need 2mg a few times a month, and not even every month at that. Meanwhile they’d been putting me on far more invasive drugs full-time, none of which had worked for the PMDD. Anyone who looks at my medical records and chats to me for five minutes will realise that I am not going to abuse drugs, and in fact I am wary of taking medication and like to keep it to a minimum. Is no one capable of screening patients for addictive potential?
Another problem I’ve found is that doctors often do not want to admit the side effects of these strong meds. When I had the acute calcific tendinitis and had to take codeine and tramadol for a month, the GP who was then handling my care was absolutely hopeless with the very substantial side effects, and it didn’t help that I was extremely groggy (in other words, stoned) from all the meds and having trouble holding a conversation with him. And then there was the fun time when I was given zolpidem (ambien) for sleep (because doctors in this country don’t generally recognise circadian rhythm disorders such as Non-24 Sleep-Wake Cycle and haven’t a clue how to treat them), hallucinated, was ill for a week afterwards, and was told that hallucinations are not a known side effect of this drug. Er, they’re incredibly well known, and I have no idea why they are not listed on the patient information leaflets in the UK when they are in the US.
I would like to first thank you for making it clear to everyone exactly how serious of a drug Ultram/tramadol really is. My cousin was sent to a residential rehabilitation center upstate for a serious addiction to narcotic pain medication. He was taking vicodin, percocet, oxycotton etc. anything he could possibly get his hands on. This went on for years until he eventually lost everything and almost losing his life. While in rehab, he saw all different kinds of doctors on site for several different reasons. The second he came across a doctor that dealt with pain management he found his opportunity to do the same thing he did in the past. Unless you undergo serious surgery during your rehabilitation period, they would never prescribe anyone a “narcotic”. My cousin on the other hand convinced this doctor that he had unbearable back pain and could not sit for longer than 10 minutes at a time. The doctor prescribed him ultram/tramadol for his “pain” during his first month of rehabilitation. He continued taking the tramadol all through the process and learned absolutely nothing. He completed the program, came home and in a matter of days he started with the more serious pain pills. I feel as if all the tramadol did was hold him over until he completed, and he could do what he wanted to do all along. It really is a shame how some things turn out. I just don’t understand how the doctors didn’t send him out for x-rays or an MRI before giving him that medication. Maybe if the tests were done and it was obvious he was lying, tramadol wouldn’t have been an option. Maybe if the tests were done, along with NO option of the tramadol, I wouldn’t be sharing in this forum at 3 am in the morning on a Tuesday thinking about him. My cousin passed away 6 months ago from today, from an overdose of prescription pain killers and I miss him. I sometimes wonder if he didn’t have access to that medication, he may have thought more clearly. If his mind wasn’t clouded 11 out of the 12 months of rehab, maybe he would have learned something great one day in treatment enabling him to live a sober productive life style.
What I am trying to say is if you can do without prescription narcotic pain killers INCLUDING tramadol/ultram please do. You don’t want to potentially leave a loved one with a bunch of “Maybes” or “what ifs” missing you with all of their heart and wondering what they could have done differently. My cousins name is Danny and he was 24 when he passed. I really miss him and would go above and beyond to have him back.
Please be careful everyone.
Just want to tell you that in my country (Denmark) it’s the same. I’ve been using / abusing tramadol for 5 years. Had to increase the dose myself when my body got more and more tolerant, so for the last year (at least) the dose was 20-24 tablets a day. 7,5 weeks ago I just got enough and decided to taper here and now. Tapered for five days and then cold turkey. Got w/d’s and what we call “tramaflue” and wasn’t able to do anything but lay in bed for a couple of days. Took my time and after a week or so, I was able to take on smaller tasks – like doing dishes etc.
I have read so many posts in here from people like me. Fighting that horrible drug. But I have realized that I’m extremely lucky. I haven’t had any kind of depression. I’m just happy. I get grumpy once in a while, and I know that’s w/d’s and probably PAWS. But on the other hand – we all get grumpy from time to time, so no biggie. Also I have been able to sleep through most of the w/d’s and tramaflue. No insomnia at all. So I am really lucky. Just the thought of going through that hell again, with both depression and insomnia… Don’t know why I’m not suffering from that though. Haven’t been taking anything but vitamin C ever since I stopped.
And a little extra trivia – Tramadol is not on the market in Greece. It was found too addictive and dangerous.