Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ultram / Tramadol *Warning*

Hello Everyone,

I came across some startling information the other day concerning Ultram (Generic name = Tramadol) that I want to share with you.

I was prescribed Ultram starting about 7 years ago when I was battling Endometriosis. My doctor prescribed it for pain explaining to me that it was essentially a nerve blocker. I didn't think much of it because I just wanted something that would help. At the time I was taking upwards of 1600 mg of Motrin at a time for pain, and of course the risk to my kidneys was horrendous. My doctor was alarmed to find out how much I was taking at a time because of the risks. Ultram seemed like a viable option and a good alternative. Besides that, it worked!

Later on when I became ill with Fibromyalgia, my new doctor, seeing that I was already taking Ultram, went ahead and prescribed me Ultram ER (along with Lyrica) so that I would have a continuous amount of the medication running through my system over a 24 hour period of time and would only need to take 1 pill per day. So the Ultram ER and Lyrica work together to keep my pain management under control.

Now for the warning part.  When my husband's orders for active duty with the military expired, our medical coverage was temporarily interrupted and I wasn't able to renew my prescriptions. It took about a week for the situation to get fixed in the system. In the mean time, without my medications I became worse and worse physically as you can imagine. HOWEVER, .... I came to find out, through some research into alternatives to Ultram, that one of the reasons I was so sick was because of the withdrawl from Ultram that my body was going through.

Yep.... I said "withdrawl".

I learned that Ultram (Tramadol) can cause the body to go into withdrawl symptoms when it is discontinued abruptly instead of being "weaned out" of the system by gradually reducing the dosage. Surprise, surprise.


Drugs.com  (http://www.drugs.com/ultram.html)   "Ultram may be habit-forming. Tell your doctor if you feel the medicine is not working as well in relieving your pain. Do not change your dose without talking to your doctor. Do not stop using Ultram suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, tremors, chills, hallucinations, trouble sleeping, or breathing problems. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication."  

E Med Expert.com (http://www.emedexpert.com/facts/tramadol-facts.shtml) "Withdrawal symptoms may occur if tramadol is discontinued abruptly. These symptoms may include: anxiety, sweating, insomnia, rigors, pain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, upper respiratory symptoms, piloerection, and rarely hallucinations. Other symptoms that have been seen less frequently with Ultram discontinuation include panic attacks, severe anxiety, and paresthesias. Withdrawal symptoms may be avoided by tapering tramadol at the time of discontinuation.
Abrupt cessation from tramadol has been associated with two types of withdrawal syndromes 2:

 Opioid-like withdrawal. One is typical of opioid drugs with flu-like symptoms, restlessness and drug craving. This type of withdrawal syndrome is encountered in about 90% of cases of withdrawal from tramadol.

 Atypical (Not Typical)  withdrawal. Another withdrawal syndrome (encountered in about 10% of cases of tramadol withdrawal) is atypical of opioids and is associated with hallucinations, paranoia, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, and numbness and tingling in the extremities
    (Retrieved 9.28.2010 via the internet pages at www.drugs.com and www.emedexpert.com)

I became very ill. I was faced with sweating/chills, stomach problems, leg and hip aches, and the worst part was a sudden onset of depression and fatigue. I felt hopelessness, stress, anxiety, and a deep "sinking" feeling within. It was terrible! I  was so stressed over the aches going on in my legs and hips (thinking it was Fibromyalgia pain) and I would just writhe. There was no comfort in laying down, standing, sitting, or stretching. Nothing helped but when I would finally wear myself out and be overcome by fatigue and fall asleep. I slept for hours at a time and was unable to function normally. Until my husband came home, (he was on orders in another part of the state) I needed to rely on my oldest daughter for help in getting my littlest one to school and back home, or asking my mom for help. I hated what was happening to me and I was so stressed for relief. That's when I forced myself to go online and see if there were any pain management alternatives to Ultram (Tramadol).

I found website after website and forum and forum of people experiencing the same things I was going through or worse. I chastised myself for not reading more information about the medication(s) I am taking so that I could be prepared. I learned my lesson, believe me.

Please, please, please make sure to read ALL  of the information about any medication you are taking. In the event that you are unable to renew a prescription BE PREPARED for what you may experience physically and/or emotionally until you can renew it. Know all of the ins and outs and the risks to taking the medication and STAY INFORMED.

I have chosen to work with my doctor to gradually reduce the amount of Ultram I am taking until I can wean it out of my system. Although I LOVE the pain relief it offers me, the side effects when I am not taking it are horrendous and I don't want to face those withdrawl risks again. For me, it's not worth it. I don't want to be dependent on a medication that puts me through that if I'm not able to get it for whatever reason.

I found some GREAT information about two different natural alternatives for Ultram (Tramadol). They take some time to build up in the body, but over time many people have said the benefits have been significant to their Fibro pain management. One is Celedrin and the other is Osteo Bi-Flex . The ingredients in both of these have been shown to widely improve joint pain. Another alternative is a product called Tramaden. There are various places to purchase Tramaden, so do a web search to find the best supplier and price for you. I chose to use Celedrin and Osteo Bi Flex because they had the same main ingredients I was looking for and I was able to purchase them for less. I take them on a daily basis now to build them up in my system while I'm reducing the amount of Ultram I'm taking. (*This was the choice I made for myself. You should consult with your doctor before making a choice that's right for you and poses the least amount of risk(s) to your health.)

As always, remember that you are not alone in your fight for the quality of your life while maneuvering through the vast domain of Fibromyalgia and all that that entails. The main thing is to stay informed, read-read-read, and ask lots of questions. Remember, each person experiences Fibro in a different way. Yes, we may have many of the same symptoms, but each of us feels them differently, to different degrees and levels, and each of us experiences side symptoms differently as well. Take each symptom one at a time. It helps you to keep focussed and in control of your body instead of this thing being in control of you. (My Pain Management and Symptom Tracker (see side links) has been a helpful tool for many people. Feedback)

Have a blessed day today! (((((HUG))))))
Here's to your success!


Get Rid Of Body Pain said...

This is nice article i love reading it so informative. Thanks for this post i also learn in reading this.

Katrina said...

Another warning. Ultram is coated with a sulpha coating. I'm allergic to sulpha antibiotics. My Dr didn't know that Ultram has the sulpha coating. I took it, and itched from head to toe for 4 days before I went online and found out it's the same sulpha as in in the antibiotics. Stopped it right away and the itching went with ti.

ultram said...

I have used 400mg a day for 4 years now. I started to use it because of a car accident. The medication works well for me, but I am very scared of the withdrawal symptoms. Anytime I don't take the medication I become angry, can't sleep, start to sweat and feel terrible. I would like to stop taking the meds. and manage the pain on my own, but I'm very nervous of going through it. When I take my medication I feel great, have a lot of energy and can perform at work. Please be careful when starting to use this medication, but it does work.