Instructions on Taking Tramadol

Put simply, you take Tramadol according to your physician’s instructions. He will be considering your age, medical history and weight before prescribing a dosage. Your dosage will also depend on the form of Tramadol you will be taking. It would be best if your prescription is clearly stamped on the drug’s bottle (at least for oral medication).

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You may take Tramadol even if you have not eaten yet. Make sure though that you regularly take it the way you first did. This means that if you started taking the drug with an empty stomach, you should do so every time. Make sure that you swallow your Tramadol tablet whole not just because some formulations designed for extended release but also because the powder could be lethal taken directly, or via inhalation or injection. With the same concern, the drug’s orally disintegrating form must be properly kept in its blister pack when not yet about to be taken. This drug must also be handled with dry hands. Tramadol can immediately dissolve when in contact with something wet. Orally disintegrating tablets should be dissolved on the tongue, and not just simply swallowed.

Extended-release formulations may pass through the bowels. This should not concern you because this does not mean that the drug was not able to act on your system.
If you would like to avoid withdrawal symptoms, do not just stop taking Tramadol without informing your doctor. He will ask you to slowly decrease your dosage until you stop. Also make sure that you keep the drug away from other people in your household who may just take it indiscriminately, such as children.

Missing a Dose

If you miss one of your scheduled doses, take it right after remembering that you missed it. Skip the dose if it is almost time for the next one, though. Do not alter your dosage just to make up for missed doses. Find ways of better remembering your scheduled dosages, such as through alarms or actual family members reminding you.

Drug Interactions

Before taking any new drug for the first time, you have to consider possible drug interactions. Make sure, then, that you reveal all of your existing medications to your doctor.

Several medications interact negatively with Tramadol. Negative interaction can even mean convulsions or seizures, and not just decreased effectiveness. So, it is very important for you to avoid mixing drugs that just won’t mix well.

You must especially be vigilant if you are taking antidepressants, anxiety medications, MAO inhibitor, seizure medications, cold/allergy meds, sleeping pills, and muscle relaxers. They can all multiply the sleepiness caused by Tramadol.

You should also inform your doctor if you are taking ADHD medications, antibiotics, antifungal medications, cancer fighting drugs, heart rhythm medications, HIV or AIDS medicines, blood pressure and other cardiovascular medication, lithium, and headache/migraine meds may also cause drug interactions.

So when you get checked with your doctor, be ready with the list of your current and even past medication, as well as with the duration and dosages of each type of medication. Do not forget to mention over-the-counter drugs, herbal brews, and vitamins. After being prescribed with Tramadol, take note of new drugs that you may need to take and inform your doctor before taking any of them.

Precautions when Taking Tramadol

Tramadol can change your brain chemistry. It may also interact with other substances, such as alcohol, as well as with other medication. So, it is pretty clear that you should take the drug with extreme caution.

More Dangerous Side Effects

It is good to know that pharmaceuticals are becoming more open when it comes to the potential side effects that Tramadol can bring. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. You may be able to experience mild symptoms such as chills, constipation, loose bowel movement, anxiety or restlessness, dry mouth, insomnia, difficulty swallowing, hives, tight muscles, mood swings, itching/rashes, hives, nausea, sleepiness, nervousness, excessive sweating, and difficulty breathing. You may also develop sores inside your eyes, nose, throat, or mouth or swelling on your ankles, legs, feet, hands, lips, throat, tongue, or eyes.
Other side effects include flu symptoms, as well as weakness, vomiting and uncontrollable tremors.

For persistent or worsening symptoms, call your doctor or emergency services, whichever one is readily available. You may want to help out other patients and yourself by reporting the side effect to Food and Drug Administration’s Med Watch Adverse Event Reporting program. Call them at 1-800-332-1088. Their website is http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch. Please seek help for other side effects that you are concerned about even if they are not part of the list given above.

Probability of Side Effects

Now, the next question would be about the how common the side effects could be. Studies actually show that taking Tramadol presents 71% occurrence of negative side effects. The more common of them are mild enough, but you must consider persistency of symptoms as serious.

Common side effects include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, indigestion, dry mouth, and seizures in the order of most common to least common.

Others experience side effects caused by improperly stopping the use of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include tremors, muscle contraction, anxiety, electrical shock and buzzing.

It is a good thing, however, that Tramadol does not lead to respiratory depression if you take it at the recommended dose. Note though that taking it if you have epilepsy or are taking tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs will increase the possibility of you having seizures. Single oral doses of 700mg also magnify the possibility.

Case Examples

The USFDA is right in pointing fingers at Tramadol’s manufacturers. 97 seizure cases became a part of an Australian controlled study. Eight of these cases were linked to Tramadol. Because of this result, the drug is revealed to pose serious risk to patients with epilepsy or to those who are using contra-indicated drugs. Tramadol can lead to what used to be called “grand mal seizures”.

First-time takers of the drug will mostly not experience seizures. Usually, Tramadol users ages 25 to 54 who take contraindicated drugs or are suffering from particular diseases experience the serious side effect.

Despite the risks posed by Tramadol, it has also been proven to improve a person’s immune system. Patients should just learn how to take the drug with caution, while being monitored by a physician.

Signs of Overdose

A drug overdose is never a good thing. So, how do you know if you are suffering from overdose? A patient going through a Tramadol overdose will have smaller than normal pupils. He or she may find breathing difficult and may experience extreme drowsiness. Extreme symptoms include heart attack, loss of consciousness, and seizures. The overdose could even result to a coma.

So, it is best to avoid an overdose as much as possible. Consult your doctor if you are uncertain about a particular dosage instruction. Never think of double dosing even if you don’t think the drug is doing anything to relieve your pain.