Millions of people in the United States suffer from pain that, if not treated, can affect their lives included being able to work. Medical doctors remedy this by prescribing painkillers but all medications come with a dose of risk. From minor side effects to life-threatening allergic reactions, every decision to take medication should be made only after the expected benefits are weighed against the known risks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the 1990s, when the number of opioids prescribed to patients began to grow, the number of overdoses and deaths from prescription opioids has also increased. Even as the amount of opioids prescribed and sold for pain has increased, the amount of pain that Americans report has not similarly changed. From 1999 to 2017, almost 218,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than in 1999.
What Are Synthetic Opioids?
This crisis has brought new synthetic opioid painkillers into play, ones that are milder than your usual opiates such as:
How Strong is Tramadol Compared to Other Opioids?
Because of this, they are thought to be less addictive. Such a painkiller is Tramadol. Tramadol, although weaker, is a synthetic opioid just like fentanyl. It comes in an immediate release form or an extended-release form. It has been thought by doctors to be a safer alternative to the stronger painkillers, but research shows, it too, can become dependent on and cause addiction, taken as prescribed or not. It has even been prescribed more heavily than other painkillers because of the belief that it is not highly addictive; even to those who have a history of substance abuse.
So if Tramadol has many similarities to other common synthetic opioids, what are the differences? Are there differences? We already know when compared with other controlled substances, tramadol is at the safer end of the spectrum. Heroin, for example, is a Schedule I drug (high abuse potential and no acceptable medical use). OxyContin is a Schedule II drug (it also has high abuse potential, but has an accepted medical use). Classified as a Schedule IV drug, tramadol is considered useful as a pain reliever with a low potential for abuse.
Tramadol vs. Synthetic Opiates
The only main difference between Tramadol and other common synthetic opiates is how it acts as an antidepressant, prolonging the action of neurotransmitters associated with mood. Tramadol is made from a combination of synthetic opioid medication and monoamine reuptake inhibitors (MRI). The opioid works on the opioid centers of the brain while the MRI works by inhibiting the reuptake of both norepinephrine and serotonin. The effect is to relieve pain while offsetting the depressant effect of the opioid with the stimulant MRI.
The largest misconception about Tramadol is that it is not an opioid and not addictive. This is just not true. The drug contains a synthetic opioid that is metabolized into an opioid in the body and acts on the opioid centers of the brain, just like other opioids. Tramadol’s effect is not as readily apparent as that of stronger opioid medications, but it is still real and significant. Taking the drug, especially at higher doses or for longer periods than a physician recommends, can lead to dependence. Tramadol is an opioid and is addictive.
Tramadol Is Addictive Like Other Prescription Opiates
Another misconception is that it’s a safer medication than other, stronger opioids. Tramadol has its risks because of the antidepressant properties. It causes unpredictable rates of metabolism in different people. This can lead to differing rates of effectiveness and toxicity, making predictions about the safety of the drug inaccurate.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA), Tramadol prescriptions increased 88 percent from 23.3 million in 2008 to 43.8 million in 2013. The estimated number of tramadol-related ER visits involving misuse or abuse increased about 250 percent from 6,255 visits in 2005 to 21,649 in 2011. And this statistic has surlily increased considering the opiate crisis we are in these days.
Even though Tramadol is a weaker painkiller, you definitely can overdose from it. The mixing of other drugs and alcohol causes most Tramadol overdose cases. When you mix Tramadol with certain kinds of drugs, such as alcohol, your breathing and heart rate problems may become life-threatening. Also, you are at risk if you mix Tramadol with antidepressants. This can increase your chance of seizures.
The only way to take Tramadol safely is by your doctor’s prescribed directions. If you feel you have become dependent on the drug let your doctor know so he can taper you off correctly so you have little to no withdrawal symptoms.
Tramadol Addiction Help at Allure Detox
If you or a loved one may be dependent or addicted to Tramadol, we at Allure Detox can help get you back on track. When it comes to Allure Detox, we provide much more than the bare minimum. Of course, we help clients stop using safely – that’s just a given. Almost as important as that, though, is that we offer clients the foundation for a lifetime of relief and recovery.
That’s the Allure Detox promise: that patients leave our care with more than good health at their disposal. Our focus is on minimizing your withdrawal symptoms to a comfortable level while beginning the comprehensive treatment process that will keep you sober.