Tramadol Side Effects

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Tramadol

Doctors prescribe Tramadol to relieve moderate to severe pain. Tramadol is available as a tablet and in an extended-release formula.

Taking Tramadol or any other medication may cause side effects. The majority of people experience no, or very minor, side effects after using Tramadol. Most adverse reactions are not serious and go away with continued use. Some side effects are serious or life threatening and require the attention of a medical professional.

Tramadol, like other opioids, may cause side effects such as physical dependence or addiction. Physical dependence means the individual will suffer withdrawal symptoms after the level of opioid drops drastically. This drop can occur either because either he has stopped taking Tramadol abruptly or he has taken a medication like naloxone that reduces the amount of this drug in his system rapidly.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

Tramadol is associated with side effects similar to other opioids. The most serious side effect is respiratory problems including stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. Physicians should anticipate side effects and treat patients accordingly.

Respiratory depression is a condition where the lungs do not adequately exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Symptoms of respiratory depression include slow or shallow breathing.

The most common side effects associated with Tramadol are not serious and disappear after taking this drug for a few days. Continue taking this medication but contact the prescribing physician if non-serious side effects become intolerable or if they do not go away on their own.

Side effect vary slightly between Tramadol preparations.

Tramadol with Acetaminophen Non-Serious Side Effects

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased Sweating
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea

Extended Release Formula Non-Serious Side Effects

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headache
  • Increased Sweating
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Mild Itching
  • Nausea
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

All other forms of Tramadol are associated with the following non-serious side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headache
  • Increased Sweating
  • Indigestion
  • Mild Itching
  • Nausea
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Some side effects are serious, requiring immediate medical attention. Stop taking this medication immediately and contact a doctor if you experience serious side effects. Serious side effects vary slightly between Tramadol preparations.

Tramadol/Acetaminophen Serious Side Effects:

  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Difficult or Painful Urination
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Fast or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Mental or Mood Changes, e.g. Agitation or Depression
  • Red, Swollen, Blistered or Peeling Skin
  • Seizures
  • Severe Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Severe or Persistent Headache or Dizziness
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors
  • Symptoms of Liver Problems, e.g. Yellowing of the Eyes or Skin, Pale Stools, Dark Urine, Persistent Loss of Appetite
  • Tremor
  • Unusual Tiredness or Weakness
  • Vision Changes

Tramadol, and Tramadol Extended-Release Tablets and Tramadol Orally Disintegrating Tablets serious side effects include:

  • Agitation
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Difficult or Painful Urination
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Fast or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Mood or Mental Changes, e.g. Depression
  • Red, Blistered, Swollen or Peeling Skin
  • Seizures
  • Severe Dizziness or Light-Headedness
  • Severe Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Severe or Persistent Headache
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors
  • Tremor
  • Vision Problems

Extended-Release Capsules Serious Side Effects:

  • Burning, Numbness or Tingling
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Difficult or Painful Urination
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Fast or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Mood or Mental Changes, e.g. Depression or Agitation
  • Red, Blistered, Swollen or Peeling Skin
  • Seizures
  • Severe Dizziness or Light-Headedness
  • Severe Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Severe or Persistent Headache
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors
  • Tremor
  • Vision Problems
  • Wheezing

By body system

Gastrointestinal

Digestive side effects are common while taking Tramadol. More than 40 percent of Tramadol consumers report nausea and constipation within the first 90 days of therapy. Patients also report vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, loss of appetite, gas, abdominal pain and dry mouth.

Nervous System

There have been reports of seizures in patients taking the recommended dose of Tramadol; the risk for seizures increases with doses above the recommended range. There have been more than 200 reported cases of seizures associated with Tramadol use.

Patients frequently report adverse reactions affecting the central nervous system, or CNS. More than 25 percent of patients experience dizziness, drowsiness and headache during the first three months of Tramadol therapy.

Many patients report symptoms of CNS stimulation including anxiety, mood swings, nervousness, tremor, agitation, euphoria and hallucinations. Fewer than 5 percent of Tramadol consumers complain of confusion, sleep disorders and problems with coordination. Two elderly patients suffered long-lasting delirium after taking Tramadol.

Dermatologic

More than 10 percent of Tramadol consumers report itching. Hives or rashes rarely occur.

Genitourinary

Tramadol may cause genitourinary side effects. Less than 5 percent of Tramadol consumers experience urinary retention or urinary frequency.

Cardiovascular

Tramadol use is associated with certain cardiovascular side effects, including a fast heartbeat or a sudden drop in blood pressure upon rising from a seated or lying position.

Hypersensitivity

Individuals who are allergic to any opioid, such as oxycodone or codeine, should not take Tramadol. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, especially opioids.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, hives, difficulty breathing or tightness in the chest. Swelling of the mouth, face or lips may occur.

Hypersensitivity side effects may include anaphylaxis, a serious form of an allergic reaction, after the first doses of Tramadol. Individuals who are allergic to codeine are at special risk for anaphylactic reactions. Angioedema, or swelling under the skin, has also been reported.

Dependence and Withdrawal

Individuals who have taken high doses of Tramadol or used this opioid medication for a long time may become physically dependant on opioids and experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Tramadol. Auditory hallucinations associated with withdrawal have been reported rarely.

Metabolic

Metabolic side effects include hyponatremia, or low salt levels in the bloodstream.