Tramadol is a medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is pharmacologically classified as a synthetic, centrally active analgesic. Like all medications, Tramadol can cause side effects. Most individuals who use this medication tolerate it well and experience little to no problems. When side effects do occur, they are mild and often do not require medical attention. There have been however, some reports of serious side effects, although they are rare.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of Tramadol include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, dizziness, itching, difficulty sleeping, weakness, dry mouth and excessive sweating. If any of these side effects are experienced, patients should discuss them with their doctor.
Serious Side Effects
Serious side effects that need immediate medical attention include chest pain, irregular heart beat, loss of balance, confusion, severe dizziness, shallow breathing, severe headache, mood changes, hallucinations, fever, peeling or swelling of skin, severe nausea and vomiting, severe diarrhea, tremors and thoughts or behavior of suicide.
Reported Cases Of Side Effects
CNS Side Effects
Side effects of the central nervous system include headache, dizziness and weakness, which have been reported in more than 25 percent of those taking Tramadol within the first three months of use. Sleep disorders, confusion and disturbances in coordination have been reported in less than 5 percent. Other side effects of the nervous system include anxiety, nervousness, vertigo, euphoria, stimulation of the central nervous system, malaise and drowsiness. There have been 200 reported cases of individuals who have experienced seizures while taking the recommended dosage although the risks of this occurring rise when dosages are increased above what is prescribed.
GI Side Effects
Gastrointestinal system side effects are common and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, flatulence, dry mouth, loss of appetite and indigestion. These symptoms usually occur within the first 90 days of Tramadol use and affects between 40 to 60 percent of patients.
Skin Side Effects
Skin side effects include itching, rash and excessive sweating although these side effects are rare.
GU Side Effects
Genitourinary system side effects include urinary retention and urinary frequency although the reported cases is less than 5 percent.
CV Side Effects
Cardiovascular side effects are rare, but include rapid heartbeat and orthostatic hypotension.
Immediate medical attention is needed if signs of allergic reaction occur. These include swelling of the face, lips and tongue, hoarseness, itching, rash or hives, tightness in chest and difficult breathing. Individuals who have a history of opioid allergies should not take Tramadol. Anaphylactic reactions have occurred in individuals after ingesting the first dose of Tramadol. This has also been reported in individuals who are allergic to codeine.