Tramadol is the generic version of Ultram which is a synthetic pain medication with properties that have been known to react similarly to that of morphine. Tramadol is an opiate; therefore it affects the opioid receptors in the brain which are responsible for pain management. Tramadol can be extremely safe if it is taken correctly, for short durations of time, and is monitored by a physician. Normally, Tramadol is prescribed for moderate to severe pain but Tramadol is not as strong as Vicodin or Oxycontins. Because Tramadol is an opiate antagonist its primary job is to alter the way that the body reacts to pain.
Tramadol, when prescribed can be written for immediate release or extended time release. Of course they are available in various milligrams too; normally the immediate release is dispensed as 50 mg and the time release are dispensed in 100 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg. Usually the time release Tramadol is used for patients who require long term pain management. It is also very important to take Tramadol exactly as directed, which is to be swallowed whole. Chewing them, crushing or splitting them is not recommended and is not safe. Because Tramadol is a member of the opiate family it does have addictive properties and when taken over a long period of time it is quite common to acquire a resistance to it which might make you feel as if the Tramadol is no longer working. Do not increase the amount of Tramadol that you take without consulting your physician and do not just stop taking it either as you will likely experience some unpleasant side effects while in opiate withdrawal. The dose should be professionally decreased gradually.
Tramadol can further be considered safe as long as you are honest with your doctor about the current medications that you might be taking as some can have a detrimental effect when combined with Tramadol such as Carbamazepine, which is normally taken for the treatment of epilepsy or bi polar disorder. The Carbamazepine reduces the effect of the Tramadol. Quinidine which is used for specific heart diseases makes Tramadol about 50-60% stronger than when Tramadol is taken by itself. Taking Tramadol with MAO (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) inhibitor or SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) can actually cause seizures and other serious side effects. Tramadol should never be used in combination with alcohol, narcotic drugs, anesthetics, tranquilizers, and sedatives. It should also not be taken by pregnant women or nursing mothers.
Of course there are certain side effects associated with taking Tramadol just as there is with any medication. When not mixed with any other drugs that can cause unpleasant side effects, Tramadol is safe to take however, the issue lays with its addictive properties. Many people have been known to literally become addicted over a period of time which can lead to craving stronger opiates. This is why it can not be stressed strongly enough that Tramadol must be taken only when monitored by a physician. Tramadol can be a very effective and safe pain reliever if is taken correctly and monitored so that a dependency does not occur.