Tramadol is a central analgesic, aimed at relieving physical condition after serious injuries and surgeries or in case of neglected cancer. This drug is sold only on prescription.
The main active component of the drug is Tramadol hydrochloridе. This substance belongs to the group of opioid agonists and affects specific CNS receptors, reducing the pain sensitivity. Tramadol is considered a mixed-acting analgesic. The drug is available in different forms for local and systemic use:
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• Gelatin capsules.
• Oral suspension.
• Solution for injection.
• Rectal suppositories.
There are also pills of Tramadol with the dosage of up to 200 mg, which provide a longer effect.
How to use Tramadol
The drug is prescribed for symptomatic treatment. It should be taken in short courses. The treatment regimen and dosage depends on the patient’s physical condition and age:
• Oral solution: the dosage for patients over the age of 14 is 20 drops with one teaspoon of sugar or water once a day. If necessary, you can repeat the intake after 1-2 hours. The dosage for children under the age of 14 is 1 mg per kg.
• Pills and capsules. They should be taken with water (before or after meals). Daily dose is 50 mg (however, in case of sharp pain, it can be increased to 400 mg).
• Subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injections. Before administration, the contents of ampoules should be diluted in saline. The daily dose varies from 50 to 400 mg. The time intervals between the injections should be 4–6 hours.
• Rectal suppositories (one suppository 1-4 times per day).
Elderly people suffering from renal or liver dysfunction should halve the dosage of Tramadol.
Indications for use of Tramadol
The medicine is used to reduce and eliminate the pain syndrome of different origins:
• physical injuries: dislocations, fractures, soft tissue breakdown and severe burns;
• consequences of surgical interventions;
• painful invasive diagnostic procedures;
• late-stage cancer;
• myocardial infarction;
• neurological manifestations.
Tramadol in the form of injections, pills, capsules and suppositories can be used by adults and children over the age of 14. Tramadol in drops can be used by the patients from the age of 1.
How Tramadol works
Penetrating into the blood, the main active substance of the drug binds to various types of opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. As a result, the production of pain neurotransmitters decreases, and the nerve conduction slows down.
The pain intensity decreases, including because of the effect of Tramadol on the GI receptors. The drug inhibits the work of both cerebral hemispheres and has a calming effect. Moreover, it inhibits the cough reflex and affects the respiratory center.
The drug action starts within 15-20 minutes and lasts up to 6 hours (depending on the pain intensity). The most effective dosage form is an injection solution. In case of long-term use, the analgesic effect of Tramadol decreases; in this case, the patient has to increase the drug dose.
The drug is metabolized in liver tissues; it is partially excreted by the kidneys in an unchanged form. The half-life of Tramadol may exceed 2 days in patients with cholecystitis, hepatitis, hepatosis and other liver diseases. The drug keeps affecting the body during this time.
Side effects of Tramadol
The drug use can cause vertigo, lethargy, excessive drowsiness, loss of appetite and sickness. Rare side effects (which may be caused by overdose) include:
• motor coordination disorders;
• visual or auditory hallucinations;
• respiratory depression;
• vomiting and diarrhea;
• stomach cramps;
• skin itching.
The drug intoxication can cause urinary retention, confusion or loss of consciousness, cardiovascular collapse and seizures. In women, long-term use of the drug can cause violation of the menstrual cycle. Keep in mind that the prolonged use of the medication can lead to drug dependence.