Tramadol is classified as a centrally-acting oral analgesic that contains an opioid or narcotics. So that makes it a controlled substance in all the 50 US states that even though it’s accepted for medical use, doctors can prescribe a maximum of five refills only and a new prescription is required every 6 months. Other opioid drugs you may be familiar with include codeine and oxycodone which have made headlines over the past few years due to opioid addiction in the U.S.
However, is much less dangerous and addictive than other controlled substances. It’s medically approved for treating adults with severe pain that cannot be controlled by other approaches and cannot be tolerated by other treatments.
Tramadol is available in the US under the brand names Ultram, and Ultram ER, an extended version of Ultram. Other brand names of Tramadol include Citra, Conzip and Enova RX but you can also buy them as a generic version which can save you hundreds of dollars on your prescriptions. If you prefer the generic medication due to cost-savings, you can ask your physician to only write the generic name whenever possible. It’s also available in combination with a pain reliever like acetaminophen, which may further help with pain and allow lower doses.
Tramadol is a specific type of narcotic medication known as an opioid. It was one of the most prescribed medications in the US in 2018. It was first approved for medical use by the US Food and Drug Administration in the mid-1990s to treat moderate to severe pain in adults. However, when it was first approved in the US, it was not considered an opioid. It was designated as a controlled substance by FDA only in 2014 because of its potential for abuse or addiction. But then again, this prescription medication is much safer and has less addictive potential compared with other controlled substances. Under the Controlled Substances Act, most painkillers are classified as schedule II substances, but Tramadol is categorized as a schedule IV substance.
Dangers of Tramadol
As a narcotic painkiller, Tramadol is subject to misuse and abuse and is dangerous in high quantities or when taken over an extended period. Those who abuse and misuse this medicine are at risk of developing an addiction. In some cases, even patients who follow their doctor’s prescription can become addicted. If taken in large quantity, this drug can slow down heart and lung function and can even be fatal in very large doses because of its central nervous system (CNS) depressant properties. Despite these concerns, Tramadol remains one of the many common treatments recommended in treating moderate to severe pain in adults.