Forms of the Medication
As with many other types of medication, Tramadol can be taken in different forms and dosages.
One can take the drug in injection form. This drug form is available in dosages of 100 mg each, which are stored in ampules. Usually, it is the Tramadol hydrochloride form that can be injected. This form is not just sold as a drug that targets the central nervous system but also more simply as mere hydrochloride salt.
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Injectable Tramadol is sold as either intramuscular and/or intravenous in form. Either way, an injectable form of the drug can be administered through an analgesic pump, which allows the patient to control the flow. Injections may be administered through intrathecal, epidural or caudal spinal routes.
In some case, the oral tablet is preferable. Usually, a Tramadol dosage unit is 50 mg. Such a tablet is usually combined with APAP (acetaminophen or paracetamol), and is marketed under the Ultracet brand. In such a combination, the Tramadol dosage is smaller, at a mere 37.5 mg, having already been combined with 325 mg APAP.
Akyma Pharmaceuticals are distributing 50 mg Tramadol HCl tablets, using Ultram as their generic name. Extended-release forms of these tablets come in 200 mg dosages stored in bottles. 100 and 300 mg tablet are also available. These tablets may be taken once daily. These medications are usually, however, prescribed with Ultracet (Tramadol-APAP). Patients who are suffering from breakthrough pain may decide to go for the medication when it is combined with Tramal, Rybix or Ultram to ensure that the pain reliever is immediately released to the system.
The variety of tablets is not limited to immediate and extended release forms, but other formats such as the chewable tablet may also be good options. They are also available in uncoated and/or low-residue tablets. Effervescent powders or tablets are also in the market.
Another oral form of Tramadol is in liquid. Some patients may not be too happy about the liquid form of the drug as it does have a slightly bitter taste. Those who may have gotten used to other pain relievers, such as morphine or codeine, however, will find Tramadol an improvement. Some manufacturers even try to improve on the tablet form’s taste by adding hints of strawberry or a pinch of orange taste.
Not everyone can hold down their drug, though. Some patients may need suppositories if they keep on vomiting.
For people who are experiencing nerve pain, they can use a topical version of Tramadol. Gels and creams may be applied on affected area. Special topical forms such as skin plaster, concentrated retention enema, and rectal foam are also available.
Physicians and patients just need to note that the Tramadol dosage changes as the form changes. For example, oral dosages peak at 400 mg and parenteral use has a limit of up to 600 mg a day.
Patients who are younger than 18 or older than 75 years old may be specifically prescribed with lower dosage of Tramadol. Same goes with people suffering from liver and/or kidney malfunctions or who are taking drugs that help in mood imbalances, such as Zoloft and the like. Patients can get the ideal, unique dosage by revealing as much as they can about their medical histories.
Ownership and Patents
Tramadol is being sold all over the United States through various manufacturers, such as Mylan and Caraco. Generic tablets come in the usual 50 mg strength. Brand names include Ultram ER, whose generic forms are being allowed distribution in the United States. The original Ultram is also brand name; Ortho-McNeil and Grünenthal GmbH share a license for this drug.
The USFDA approved Tramadol’s instant-release form in March 1995. The extended-release version was approved a few months after. The latter is subject to more abuse liability. Tramadol is actually being sold in different countries worldwide under various generic and brand names.
Benefits of Tramadol
As mentioned earlier, Tramadol is a pain reliever. Its ability to inhibit the flow of mild to moderately severe pain is its main benefit. It is especially recommended to people experiencing pain due to existing conditions, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, or due to injuries and surgery.
One of the best things about Tramadol is that it can be as effective on a child younger than 16 and a geriatric patient older than 65. However, weight, age and other conditions are still considered when your doctor is deciding on a dosage that best suits you. The drug is pretty much politically correct, what with its equal effect, regardless of race and gender.
Aside from the fact that the drug does not discriminate, it is also easy on the system. This means that it does not generally cause serious side effects. About 71% of patients who take Tramadol may experience common side effects, such as weakness and nausea. These side effects are pretty mild and may not stay for long. Because Tramadol is easy on the system, it may be taken even on an empty stomach. It is even the go-to drug for post-operative patients who don’t have the strength to eat much yet.
Other benefits brought by the drug are still controversial. Its antidepressant effects, for example, should not urge anyone to use it on psychiatric patients. Other controversial benefits are premature ejaculation cure, OCD treatment, and opioid withdrawal management.
Developments and New Research
It seems that Tramadol has a lot more to offer as a drug. The Cochrane Review says that it may even be able to treat osteoarthritis given a three month period. The drug can reduce symptoms, such as less stiffness and pain. It can also improve the patients’ ability to use their limbs, while they also achieve a better sense of well-being. The bad news is that there are more risks compared to benefits. So, a patient with osteoarthritis is better off with more traditional drugs. Those with fewer or no other options may still consider taking the drug to relieve chronic pain.
Limitations of the Drug
There is a certain range of pain that Tramadol can treat. It has been described as a pain reliever that has been especially formulated for mild to moderately severe chronic pain. For acute pain, however, hydrocodone is a better option though Tramadol still trumps over codeine when it comes to taking away the pain symptoms.
On the Subject of Side Effects
As with many other strong drugs, Tramadol comes with side effects. Those who have taken single use dosages of the drug should not drive up to 24 hours after. Tramadol can be compared to more than four glasses of alcohol, which makes it a dangerous drug to take before driving. Patients who take the drug regularly may get used to the dosage. They may only drive once they no longer experience drowsiness and dizziness.
Tramadol is strong enough on its own. So, you should not take it with alcohol. Even chronic users must give up the bottle while being treated with the drug.
Tramadol’s Effects on the Brain
Tramadol directly target the central nervous system when relieving pain. It can change your brain’s chemistry, which explains its addictive quality. Though there have not been a lot of abuse reports, it is still best to be cautious with the drug. Make sure that your physician knows the full details of your medical history.
As mentioned earlier, the synthetic pain reliever has the same way of battling pain as morphine. Both Tramadol and morphine bind the brain’s opioid or pain receptors. Moreover, Tramadol also inhibits norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake, thus working like some antidepressants out there. The brain chemicals mentioned can transmit pain message from one nerve cell to the other.