Tramadol and Alcohol

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Tramadol is a strong opioid medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is an opiate analgesic which acts on nervous system and brain to reduce the feeling of pain. Tramadol is prescribed in adults and children over 12 years of age for the management of moderate to severe pain.

Tramadol and alcohol

Tramadol is available in the form of capsule, soluble tablet, modified-released tablets and capsules, or dispersible tablet and injection. People who need a pain reliever medication around-the-clock are prescribed extended released tablets and capsules. Extended released medications are long acting in system. It takes about one hour for the analgesic effect which lasts for 4-6 hours after oral administration of tramadol. It is advised to be taken with or without food.

Tramadol 50 mg to 100 mg can be administered for pain relief every 4 to 6 hours. It must not exceed 400 mg per day in adults.

The most common unfavourable effects of tramadol consist of nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, indigestion, vertigo, abdominal pain vomiting, drowsiness, constipation and headache.

The serious signs of overdose of tramadol are convulsions, shallow breathing, pale or blue lips, shortness of breath, constricted pupils.

The drug must be taken as advised by the doctor.

Tramadol must not be stopped abruptly. The doctor gradually reduces the dosage and can be stopped completely. The gradual reduction is important to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, headache, shivering, sweating, sleep disturbances, or tremors.

Before prescribing tramadol a doctor takes special considerations such as in individuals with alcohol addiction an alternate pain reliever medication is administered. If the person is addictive to alcohol, he is advised avoid activities that requires fine co-ordination like driving, working on heavy machines.

There can be fatal reactions with tramadol and alcohol interaction in adults above 60 years of age are more prone to face the adversity, a history of liver, renal damage due to drugs and in disease conditions such as asthma or other respiratory illness.

Certain pain medications such as as pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol, naltrexone; herbal medicines, anxiolytics, antibiotics interact with the action of tramadol. Some of the interactions can increase your risk for dangerous side-effects. Alcohol too interact with this drug which can be potentially fatal.

Tramadol and alcohol interaction:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns not to combine tramadol and alcohol for their potential dangerous effects.
  • Both of these two drugs produce side-effects when taken individually. But when taken together they enhance the adverse reactions produced by each of them. Hence the risk of overdose of tramadol increases.
  • Alcohol causes drowsiness, sleepiness. Tramadol intensifies alcohol intoxication which is dangerous an also increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.
  • Tramadol causes feeling of euphoria and sedation. Alcohol increases these effects by creating the feeling of getting high.
  • Tramadol and alcohol depresses the central nervous system and intensify the depressant effects. When mixing together, they most often produce adverse effects such as: Drowsiness, difficult in concentration, euphoria, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, bradycardia, irregular heartbeat, numbness, loss of consciousness, slow breathing.
  • Taking them together increases the risk of depression, mood disorders, agitation and also produced suicidal thoughts.
  • Marked changes in central nervous functioning like lack of coordination, permanent changes in behavior and memory, slow movements.
  • There is an increase risk of organ damage, mainly liver.
  • Acute alcohol syndrome can be life-threatening. (marked by toxic reaction to moderate alcohol consumption that may prove life-threatening)
  • There is moderate increase in intracranial pressure.
  • Renal failure (that may deteriorate to renal failure)
  • A person can’t tolerate the amount of alcohol he used to consume when he mixes alcohol and tramadol.

The severe adverse reactions produced by taking tramadol and alcohol at same time can lead to death.