Tramadol Side Effects

Tramadol Side Effects

Side effects, by definition, are events that are unwanted when patients start a new treatment. It is a common occurrence that comes with all medications, having different severities and types. Unique opioids, such as tramadol, have various side effects disclosed in the leaflet that comes in the box. It is essential to know the possible tramadol side effects before commencing the treatment.

Positive tramadol effects or intended benefits overshadow its side effects, but side effects could occur for the following reasons:

  • When taking a tramadol painkiller for the first time, it is normal to experience common side effects. This will stop when the body becomes used to tramadol.
  • If the dosage of tramadol is increased or decreased.
  • If suddenly stopping the use of tramadol. This should be avoided. A schedule must be followed when stopping this painkiller.
  • If the patient has an allergic reaction to tramadol.
  • If other medications are taken in conjunction with tramadol.

When side effects are experienced, they are found to be mild and easily treated in the comfort of patients' homes. Uncommon to rare side effects are usually only experienced by a handful of tramadol patients. Following usage instructions and dosage guidelines, minimises these risks drastically.

Common Tramadol Side Effects

Common side effects refer to non-severe symptoms that occur when using tramadol. Experts usually recommend the avoidance of additional medications to counter these mild side effects as they will disappear after several hours or a few days at most. A study looked into the side effects of tramadol, which was well received by the subjects in question.

Individual patients might experience these tramadol side effects, and some patients may not share them all. However, they should not worry if experienced and ought not necessarily stop the use of tramadol, as that may lead to additional issues.

Common tramadol side effects may affect more than 1 in 10 individuals. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth

Since these side effects are not severe, it can easily be treated using these tips:

  • For dry mouth, the patient should drink plenty of water to increase saliva production. They can also eat sweets or chew bubblegum to get rid of the tablet taste.
  • For headaches, patients report that a cold compress to the neck is the best way to alleviate headaches. They can also lie down in a dark room, reducing noise and light emissions.
  • For nausea and vomiting, do not skip any meal of the day. Instead consume small, light meals and nausea will pass.
  • For constipation, increase the intake of water. An article shows that sparkling water is most effective in aiding with constipation.
  • For fatigue, take a short walk and try to do small exercises regularly.
  • For drowsiness, get regular and an adequate amount of rest.

Uncommon Tramadol Side Effects

Uncommon side effects refer to the adverse events that are hardly seen or occur only in a very small fraction of patients. Patients must remember that these side effects will not be present in everyone. These side effects typically present themselves due to non-adherence to recommendations and instructions, as alluded to above. Uncommon tramadol side effects generally affect up to 1 in 100 individuals.

These include:

  • Skin reactions, such as rash or itching
  • Effects on blood circulation and the heart, such as a fast heartbeat or feeling faint
  • An urge to be sick, diarrhoea and stomach problems
  • Severe headaches
  • Body chills and sweating

The above tramadol side effects usually affect patients who do not follow expert advice, such as avoiding certain medications around the time tramadol is taken or eating certain types of food. Tobacco and alcohol should not be used concurrently with tramadol, as it increases the risk of these side effects.

Using tramadol with grapefruit juice or grapefruit containing substances is not recommended. If patients use them together, their medical professional will have to reevaluate their dosage schedule/treatment plan and frequency of doses. They will also provide additional information on the use of food and drinks with tramadol. Normally, the food will have to be completely avoided.

Tramadol Side Effects

Rare Tramadol Side Effects

Although tramadol has a significantly low risk of addiction and dependence, users who have had a history of drug or alcohol abuse must be cautious. If patients take tramadol in unnecessarily high doses with other sedatives, longer than prescribed, and in alternate methods, such as snorting or dissolving it in water - it can induce a tramadol high.

These rare tramadol side effects cannot be treated using at-home methods as they are usually quite severe. It could also occur if patients use tramadol for no apparent reason for longer than 3 to 4 months. For these adverse events, patients must seek professional medical help.

These side effects can affect up to 1 in 1000 individuals and include:

  • Indigestion and chest pain
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Constant fainting
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) and the whites of the eyes
  • Respiratory depression
  • Severe nausea and muscle cramps
  • Blood in urine and a discoloured urine
  • Hallucinations or a distorted perception of reality

Unsolicited use of tramadol can lead to overdose, with symptoms such as:

  • Non-responsiveness and a decrease in awareness
  • Pinpointed pupils
  • Severe sleepiness and fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Irregular rhythm of the heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

Tramadol Effects Explained

Opioid painkillers can produce its pharmacological actions, which is analgesia, acting on specific receptors found on neuronal cell membranes. Recent studies in the biology of opioid receptors proved that there are three types of opioid receptors, namely the m, d and k receptors.

The discovery of this structure helps experts devise the pain-relieving properties behind opioid pharmacology. When opioids are ingested, they firmly attach to these opioid receptors, which produce potent therapeutic effects.

The tramadol effects in the body are shown in a similar manner. However, there are certain factors which differ from natural opioids, such as:

  • When tramadol 50 mg binds to opioid receptors, it has a weak attachment. This is said to be the reason behind its mild side effects - however, the positive effects are still potent.
  • Tramadol can also stop the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. This inhibitory function further improves the pain-relieving properties of tramadol.

Additionally, due to its effect in the body, tramadol tablets can also target other ailments beyond pain. This includes the induction of sleep, releases tension in muscles, mood elevation, lessened anxiety, and anti-shivering effects.

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Updated: 27th January 2021
Review Due: January 2022



Fueled with a passion to try and help people less fortunate than himself Steve immersed himself in the medical industry. By researching new and innovative medical advancements and regularly sharing important information on social media Steve intends to make a difference where it matters most, people's health. His wealth of knowledge and keen eye for detail will help keep our readers informed and contribute towards improved health.

Claire Sterny – Mar 05, 2021
Dear Steve, having used Tramadol to combat severe pain I found your article both accurate and informative. As you are probably aware, this medication can be misused and I believe that it is important that writers like yourself highlight the potential side-effects. Claire Sterny
Marjorie Clark – Mar 05, 2021
Hi Steve, I wanted to write and commend you on this thoughtful piece. The importance of understanding any medication and the side-effects associated with it cannot be under estimated and I believe your blog illustrates this beautifully. Mrs Marjorie Clark

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