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Does Tramadol cause an addiction?
The treatment of the severe pain syndrome with opioid analgesics is complicated by the fact that most patients develop a fast medical addiction.
Morphine, Codeine, Fentanyl, and other drugs are not recommended for the use more than 2 weeks. This rule is applied to all opioid medications.
Tramadol is an opioid analgesic with a mixed mechanism of the action. It has a severe analgesic activity, gives a fast and long-term effect but it has a higher index of the pharmacological safety than Morphine.
Tramadol is classified as “opioid non-narcotic analgesic” in some medical sources. It has a reasonable explanation:
Tramadol is by 6 thousand times weaker than Morphine and by more than 10 times weaker than Codeine. So, the narcogenic index of Tramadol is lower than in these drugs.
The treatment of the chronic pain on the basis of Tramadol is usually well tolerated by patients. At the same time, an addiction does not occur during the use of the therapeutic doses for more than 4 weeks. So we can say that Tramadol does not cause the addiction.
But these characteristics are achieved only if recommendations are followed.
The dose is not increased during the treatment
The dose frequency is not increased
A cessation is gradual
If these recommendations are followed, the patient’s life, sleeping, mood, and physical activity are improved from the first day.
That is why Tramadol differs from more intensive opioids (morphine, buprenorphine) which causing a pain relieving effect lead to the inhibition of the physical and mental activity and other significant negative symptoms.
However, if we consider the pharmacological characteristics of Tramadol in details, we cannot call this drug absolutely safe and harmless.
There is clinical data confirming a high probability of the development of the abstinence syndrome during a sudden cessation of Tramadol use.
What is abstinence syndrome?
Taking Tramadol and any other intensive analgesic, you inhibit some functions of the central nervous system. In case of a sudden cessation, a disorder happens: you stop stimulating some receptors, at the same time all nervous system is not restored.
Due to this, a person may have symptoms resembling the symptoms of the drug dependence: tremor, headache, nausea, increase or decrease of arterial pressure, tachycardia, increased sweating, and emotional disorders.
How to prevent the abstinence syndrome?
To have the treatment without side effects, it is very important to gradually terminate the use of the pills. If a patient follows a standard dose: 4 pills per day, the principle of the cessation should be as follows:
Reduce a daily dose up to 3 pills
The dose is reduced up to 2 pills in a week
The dose is reduced up to 1 pill in one more week
In 4 week the use of the drug is completely stopped
If negative symptoms appeared after the decrease of the dose, it is necessary to return to the previous dosing, and try again in 5-7 days. This way, you will prepare the body to the cessation of the drug use and be able to avoid the abstinence syndrome.
Tramadol addiction may appear only if a patient increased the daily dose on purpose.
Even double increase of the dose is an initial stage to the development of the tolerance and a physiological addiction.
Therefore, do not exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor. In spite of the possible development of addiction, a recovery goes rather quickly and takes one week to a month.