Is Tramadol a Controlled Substance?

Millions of people in the United States suffer from pain that, if not treated, can affect their everyday lives. This includes not being able to work or even get out of bed. Medical doctors remedy this by prescribing painkillers, but the abuse and overdoses have been a continuing and growing problem for years.

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.

Is Tramadol a Controlled Substance?

Where Does Tramadol Come From?

This crisis has brought new synthetic opioid painkillers into play, ones that are milder than your usual oxycodone, morphine, or fentanyl, therefore, thought to be less addictive. Tramadol, although weaker, is a synthetic opioid just like fentanyl, and 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 more potent painkillers, but research shows, too, can become dependent on and cause addiction, taken as prescribed or not. It has even been prescribed more heavily than other painkillers because it is not highly addictive, even to those with a history of substance abuse.

With all these new medications coming out, doctors and people in the medical field rely on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to regulate the drugs before being prescribed to patients.

Is Tramadol a Scheduled Prescription Drug?

The U.S. has been trying to safely and effectively control drug use since the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. The act was changed numerous times over the six decades that followed. Still, the most significant change took effect in the early 1970s with the CSA, when President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) that gave the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to determine which substances are fit for medical use.

Medications controlled by the CSA are divided into five categories called “schedules.” Each schedule tries to divide drugs according to their potential for abuse, medical value, and safety standards. Schedule I drugs are seen as the most serious, and Schedules II through V include drugs in decreasing order of potential for abuse and addiction.

Schedule I

  • The most dangerous with no current medical use
  • High potential for abuse and addiction

Schedule I drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Ecstasy
  • Quaaludes
  • Bath salts

Schedule II

  • high potential for abuse and addiction
  • have medical use in the U.S.

Schedule II drugs include:

  • Methadone
  • Demerol
  • OxyContin
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

Schedule III

  • low to moderate potential for physical and psychological
  • When misused, these drugs can still lead to abuse or addiction
  • Need prescription

Schedule III drugs include:

  • Vicodin
  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Suboxone
  • Ketamine
  • Anabolic steroids

Schedule IV

  • Lower potential for abuse and addiction
  • Medical uses
  • required prescription

Schedule IV drugs include:

  • Xanax
  • Soma
  • Klonopin
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Tramadol

Schedule V

  • Least addictive
  • Low potential for abuse but still happens

Schedule V drugs include:

  • Robitussin A.C.
  • Phenergan with codeine
  • Ezogabine

Back in the ’90s, Tramadol was initially approved by the FDA as a non-controlled analgesic, but that has changed due to reports of its abuse. It is now, as seen above, a Schedule IV drug.

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 E.D. visits involving misuse or abuse increased about 250 percent from 6,255 visits in 2005 to 21,649 in 2011. And this statistic has risen surlily considering the opiate crisis we are in these days.

Can Tramadol Cause Dependency?

Like other opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, Tramadol can cause a physical dependence; therefore, it can cause withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it. Being physically dependent on Tramadol may sway you to take more than prescribed which may cause an addiction.

Get Help for Tramadol Addiction

If you or a loved one is dependent on Tramadol or any other prescription opioid, we at Allure Detox can help. 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.