Do you know each a minute a person dies from Opiate over-dosage or suffers from some severe health complication due to Opiate addiction? Do you know how much this huge Opiate epidemic engulfs us as a society and as a community?
Where are we going with these drugs running in our veins? Don’t you think it’s time that we put all our efforts to save the earth and the inhabitants of land?
This article is one in a group of articles that are putting forward all the various strategies to combat Opiate addiction.
This is just a small drop in the ocean. If you are an Opiate addict, it’s the right time to quit it and continue reading this article because it will surely help you in Opiate withdrawal.
Today’s article is about Tramadol; the drug that is commonly used to relieve pain. Can tramadol help with Opiate withdrawal? Let’s find it out together in this article.
What is Tramadol?
The drug you have seen your grandparents taking for Osteoarthritis, some relative or friend taking for cancer or a fracture that is most probably tramadol.
Tramadol is a pain reliever that can be considered narcotic-like. It is used for managing moderate to severe pain.
It should be taken with great care as it can cause adverse effects. It is used for Opiate withdrawal as it eases the symptoms of withdrawal. Also, it is used for alleviating pain in fibromyalgia, labor pain, and nerve pain.
Tramadol works on the mu-Opioid receptors to cause the suppression of pain, along with this it causes inhibition of the reuptake mechanism of norepinephrine and serotonin.
This way these two neurotransmitters get to interact with their receptors for a more extended period.
Tramadol is a synthetic opioid which belongs to the benzenoid class. However, unlike other Opiates, it is not a controlled substance by the DEA and the FDA.
It is available in some forms, i.e., tablets, capsules, syrup, powder, drops, injection and elixirs.
What is Opiate withdrawal?
Opiate withdrawal is a form that occurs when you suddenly quit using Opiates after taking them frequently for an extended period.
This happens because of the Opiate receptors, i.e., mu, delta and kappa receptors get used to the external supply of Opiates, and thus they modulate the nerve pathways.
Once the outer supply is cut off, the nerve pathways like dopaminergic pathways, sympathetic pathways, pain pathway and serotonergic pathways no more work.
This is when you feel sad; you have the low mood. You feel pain, and you are irritated by every single thing. You feel depressed and in agony.
This is when you crave for Opiates; this is when you want to revert to the use of Opiates. These withdrawal symptoms are very intense in the initial 2 to 4 weeks, but gradually they subside.
However, the long-term effects of anxiety, depression may last for two years or more. This phase can be quickly passed with the use of Tramadol, provided it be taken correctly.
How can Tramadol help with Opiate withdrawal?
Tramadol acts on the receptors of Opiates. Therefore, it produces almost similar effects, but it has lesser addiction potential.
Tramadol can be used to alleviate Opiate withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, anxiety, hot and cold flashes, sweating, gastrointestinal distress, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, depression, muscle cramps and fatigue.
Based on the severity of Opiate addiction, Tramadol may show hundred percent beneficial effects for some, while for others it may show minimal effects.
Tramadol promotes elevated mood and relieves anxiety through the release of serotonin. It made you more energetic and stimulated due to the prolonged action of Norepinephrine on the receptors.
What is the dosage of Tramadol for Opiate withdrawal?
Tramadol is taken in the form of immediate release tablet can show quick effects in the way of analgesia within 2 to 4 hours.
The dosage of Tramadol should be carefully taken, and it should be spaced. You must consult your doctor for appropriate dosage but here’s a dosage regimen that has frequently been mentioned on the internet.
- For moderate to severe chronic pain, the dosage of Tramadol should be 25mg initially. Then the dose is increased up to 400mg per day given in the dose of 50-100 mg every 4 to 6 hours. If you feel better at low doses, you do not need to increase your dose.
- Extended-release tablets of Tramadol: Initially 100mg once daily then the dosage can be increased up to 300mg.
- For rapid pain relief (pain associated with Opiate withdrawal): 50 to 100 mg dose should be administered every 4 to 6 hours. Do not increase the dose more than 400 mg as it can cause adverse effects.
Never take Tramadol for Opiate withdrawal more than 3 to 7 days.
What does research say about Tramadol for Opiate withdrawal?
A study conducted in 2012 compared the efficacy of Tramadol to Methadone for the treatment of Opiate withdrawal.
The subjects were placed into two groups. One group was given 60mg Methadone per day while the other one was given 600mg Tramadol per day.
The outcomes of the study were same. Both teams had similar dropout rates, but the group that was given Tramadol experienced fewer side effects, and thus the study concluded that Tramadol is a better option for the treatment of Opiate withdrawal.
A similar study was conducted in 2006, comparing Tramadol with buprenorphine for the treatment of Opiate withdrawal.
Both drugs were shown to have equal efficacy with the Tramadol group experiencing the comparatively more significant reduction in the withdrawal symptoms.
What are the side effects of Tramadol?
As compared to other drugs, Tramadol produces side effects very rarely. You may create an allergic reaction to it. Some of the common side effects are mentioned below;
- Slowing of respiration if taken in high doses.
- Too much sedation.
- A light-headed feeling.
- Low libido, sexual problems, impotence, infertility, missed menstrual periods.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Loss of appetite.
- Dizziness, drowsiness, headache and tired feeling.
- Skin reaction, swelling of face and lips, burning eyes.
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Feeling anxious.
- Serotonin syndrome characterized by hallucination, agitation, sweating, tachycardia, shivering, muscle spasms, loss of coordination, nausea, and vomiting.
If you have some of these side effects, seek medical attention right away.
What are the things that I need to be cautious about while taking Tramadol?
If you have been prescribed any sedatives, tranquilizers, MAO inhibitor or some other narcotic medication, do not take Tramadol.
If you have the respiratory disorder, do not take tramadol. If you have the intestinal obstruction and you have recently consumed alcohol, avoid taking Tramadol.
Tramadol can be habit-forming. Therefore, it shouldn’t overdose, misused or taken without a prescription from a certified doctor. It shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy or lactation.
If you have a history of seizures or head damage you may experience seizures again. If you take it with alcohol or other CNS depressants, it may even be fatal for you.
Tramadol can interact with other drugs so use it with care. Do not take Tramadol tablet in crushed form, do not inject it or inhale it.
Never take Tramadol more than the recommended dosage or longer than the period prescribed.
Tramadol for Opiate withdrawal- Conclusion
It is evident from the above research studies, and the facts stated that the Tramadol is a valid option that can help with Opiate withdrawal.
However, it must be noted that the respiratory side effects of Tramadol are quite dangerous, so the patient should be adequately educated about the use and dosage of Tramadol to avoid any adverse effects.
Also, note that Tramadol can cause addiction, so its use should be limited to few days and it should be taken in minimal doses.