Tramadol is a prescription opioid, for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Ultram is one of the most common brand names of this drug. Other brand names are ConZip, Rybix and Ryzolt. Tramadol works similarly to morphine, but it’s much less potent.
Due to the decreased potency, tramadol is a schedule IV controlled substance in the United States. That classification indicates that there is a potential for it to be habit-forming, but the risk is low. Other schedule IV controlled substances include benzodiazepines and sleep aids like diazepam, alprazolam and zolpidem.
Despite the fact tramadol is less potent than other opioids, it can still lead to abuse and addiction. There are other tramadol side effects to be aware of as well.
Immediate Effects of Tramadol Use
Immediate tramadol effects are similar to other opioids. When someone takes tramadol, it activates opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Through this activation, there is a change in how pain signals transmit from the body to the brain. Opioids also change someone’s emotional response to pain.
As well as pain relief, immediate tramadol effects can include nausea or vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness. Most of the effects of tramadol are because it’s a central nervous system depressant, slowing brain and body activity.
Some people may experience euphoria or pleasant feelings in addition to pain relief when taking tramadol. Those pleasant feelings are why tramadol can be addictive. The pleasant feelings may trigger the brain’s reward response.
The most common immediate effects of tramadol use, in addition to the ones named above, are:
- Dry mouth
- Feelings of warmth
- Feelings of sadness
- Itching or skin rash
- Loss of interest
- Redness of the skin
- Stomach pain
- Concentration problems
Long-Term Side Effects of Tramadol
Two long-term side effects of tramadol are addiction and dependence. Dependence is different from addiction and occurs when the brain starts to function in response to the ongoing exposure to tramadol. If someone’s dependent on tramadol and they stop using it suddenly, they will likely experience symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Tolerance can also occur with ongoing tramadol use. When someone develops a tolerance to a drug, they need larger doses to feel the same effects.
Other long-term effects of tramadol include:
- An increased risk of seizures
- Adrenal insufficiency which can alter hormone levels and impair immune system functionality
- Respiratory problems because of the ongoing respiratory depression that occurs with opioid use
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Behavioral changes
Tramadol Side Effects in Men
Tramadol side effects in men are the same as the effects listed above, but others are possible or well. Namely, the ongoing use of opioids can cause sexual dysfunction. Long-term opioid use of substances like tramadol can cause lower levels of sex hormones like testosterone. These effects can lead to loss of libido and loss of sexual pleasure, as well as erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, long-term tramadol use can increase the risk of depression. Depression is associated with sexual dysfunction and lack of libido in both men and women.
Tramadol Side Effects in Women
Similarly, tramadol side effects in women can include sexual dysfunction. There are reports of the use of opioids like tramadol affecting female libido. Females who use opioids may also experience changes in sexual function, desire and in their attitudes toward sexual contact.
If you struggle with an addiction to an opioid, like tramadol, it can feel hopeless. Fortunately, treatment centers like The Recovery Village can help you find hope for a healthier future. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus, and our representatives can help you find a treatment program that will work with your needs.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.