Wednesday April 1st 2015

Does Tramadol have codeine or opiates in it?

Does Tramadol have codeine or opiates in it?

No. Tramadol does not contain codeine or opiates.   But Tramadol does resembles a more simple version of codeine.

Tramadol: nature or synthetic?

Tramadol is a synthetic drug. This means that Tramadol is created in laboratories and is the result of chemical reactions. It is NOT a natural product, like codeine, and is called an opioid due to its chemical make up.

Tramadol: Opiate or opioid?

The term “opiate” is generally restricted to products which contain natural alkaloids found in the resin of the poppy plant. Depending upon classification system, however, synthetic substances such as Tramadol that are directly derived from the opium poppy are considered to be opiates as well. But for simplicity’s sake, we will refer to Tramadol as a semi-synthetic opioid.

Furthermore, Tramadol is not a narcotic pain medication. Many people wonder, “Is Tramadol HCL a narcotic?”  due to its efficient pain killing effects and possible euphoria, but the drug has not been classed by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act.

Chemical structure of Tramadol

Chemically and structurally, Tramadol resembles a more simple version of codeine. In terms of chemistry, Tramadol is a NON opiate-derived 4-phenyl-piperidine analogue of codeine.

Effects of Tramadol

While that might not mean too much to you or me, what is important is that Tramadol is an effective pain reliever. And what is even more important is that products that contain Tramadol (Ultram) can cause addiction. Ultram addiction signs range from loss of control over taking the pain pill, to non medical uses of tramadol to compulsive and obsessive thinking about use.

If you think that you are addicted to the physical euphoric effects of Tramadol, see your doctor. There is not shame in admitting and getting help when you need it. Physical dependence can be addressed, as can possible emotional or psychological reasons that compel use. But you don’t have to do it alone.

Please leave your comments, questions and feedback about Tramadol below.

Reference sources: American Society of Health System Pharmacists info on Tramadol
Pharmacology of tramadol

Drug info on tramadol hydrochloride on Daily Med

Photo credit: Samyra Serin

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25 Responses to “Does Tramadol have codeine or opiates in it?
9:05 am August 20th, 2012

I was on Tramadol for a short period of time and found that it didn’t do much for my osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease but am now finding that it did more than the current med the MD prescribed for me. I think I may ask my MD if I can go back on it. What is the likelihood of getting addicted to it? If it is likely, I don’t want it. What is an average dose?

11:43 am August 20th, 2012

High Courtney. Tramadol is less addictive than other prescription pain killing medications, but becomes more addictive when you take tramadol to get high. While you can develop a physical dependence on tramadol over time, a mental element of craving needs to be present in order to be really “addicted” to any drug. So as long as you are taking tramadol as prescribed, addiction is less likely to occur.

Doctors start prescribing tramadol at a smaller initial dose of 100 mg per day. Once tolerance builds, safe doses of tramadol may be as high as 450 mg a day. However, this determination is made by the prescribing doctor, and may change over time as tolerance to effects of tramadol builds.

1:51 pm September 3rd, 2012

Tramadol is vey addicting it seems that the withdrawl is even worse than Methadone, what is in this drug that makes coming off it so hard?

11:24 am September 4th, 2012

Hi Jackie. Yes, I have heard others report similar reactions to withdrawal from tramadol. Tramadol is a synthetic 4-phenyl-piperidine analogue of codeine. If you’re having trouble during withdrawal, be sure to consult your prescribing doctor to see if there are other pharmaceutical medications which can help ease symptoms.

11:30 pm September 19th, 2012

If I am allergic to codeine, will I have a reaction to tramadol?

10:40 pm February 7th, 2013

I am allergic to demerol,codeine and morphine. Was recently diagnosed with diverticulitis and when released from hospital was sent home with a prescription for tramadol. Which I am having the same type of reaction from as I do from codeine,extremely itchy all over my body and it is affecting my throat a little . The reaction isn’t nearly as bad as with the demerol or morphine which both I get hives, my arm swells up huge and my throat shuts down. I need something for the pain so I will put up with the reaction just hoping it doesn’t get any worse. What other synthetic drug can I take? I know fentenall (not sure on correct spelling) was used while at hospital and also for knee surgery worked is it not available in an oral form?

8:19 am February 9th, 2013

Hello Cheryl. When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl is administered via injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenge form. Check with your prescribing doctor to learn more about this synthetic opioid. It’s possible that a similar reaction could occur.

11:59 am June 13th, 2013

I have had a lower back fusion and last week a fusion on my neck losing 2 disc. As you can imagine I have been on oxycodine and Norco 10 ( hydrocodone ) am now realized I’m addicted. Im currently going through withdraw cold turkey and this is tough. When I told my Doctor I am struggling with those Meds he Prescribed Tramado. Will this help or is it going to continue my addiction. I;m trying so hard to quit, But I’m also in pain and not sure what to do?


2:23 am June 28th, 2013

I have been using tramadol for a couple of months now and I find little or no relief from it. what should I do about this. I have 3 blown disks in my neck and I am in pain every day.

11:06 am June 28th, 2013

Hello Barbara. Speak with your prescribing doctor. You may need a more potent opioid such as hydrocodone or oxycodone to help control pain.

8:05 am November 4th, 2013

Cheryl – I’ve had 5 neck and back surgeries and have been on every pain med made at one point or another. Two options that may work for u… Nucynta – it’s fairly new and is suppose to be equivalent to percocet but I never found it to work for me. The other medicine is methadone. People think it’s only used to get off of heroin but it was actually developed in the 1930′s to be a pain killer and during trials found that people were kicking heroin. The dosage for pain is very small compared to methadone maintenance and is very effective. It’s also easier on the liver and kidneys with less sensitivity and allergic reactions then the other opioids. Word of caution: it is very hard to get off of if you are on it for a long time and the dose must be tapered to avoid withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t realize how much pain I was in until my pain management doctor put me on methadone and for the first time in 6 years I was nearly pain free. I’ve been on the same dose for 4 yrs and its still very effective without making me groggy or unable to concentrate like Percocet, fentanyl, etc. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe methadone because it can be very dangerous if not titrated correctly when first starting on it, but most pain management doctors should offer this as an option. The best part, it’s dirt cheap compared to other pain meds…I take 10mg 3/day…so 90-10mg pills are $12-15. It has a very long half-life so it doesn’t wear off as fast as other opioids. Methadone is for patients who have severe chronic pain and for conditions not likely to improve (ruptured disks, nerve pain, other spinal problems, cancer, etc) and NOT for something that will heal (broken bone, pulled muscle, post surgical, etc). So your own research and talk to ur doctor. And good luck! BTW…I really do have a chemistry degree w a biology minor and classes in biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy. So I have educational loan with personal experience. I wish you good luck!

12:04 am November 14th, 2013

I have a drug test on Friday and I have been taking Tramadol 50mg. Will it show up on a drug test as an opiate?

3:52 am December 11th, 2013

I have been taking tramadol for knee pain for several months now. I still take only 1 pill a day. I find its time release aspect to be enough to not want me to need more. I have been in and out of recovery from alcohol, prescription opiates and cocaine for years. I also had bariatric surgery for my food addiction. I find , for the first time in years, a complete sense of satisfaction , sort of a peace of mind, from this pill. I always used to fight the urge for more. I find now that I just plain old Feel Good. My knee still pains once in awhile so the pain isnt “gone” but it is livable without hydrocodone which used to be my drug of choice. My doctor told me it works much like a reuptake inhibitor. She tried me on Lexipro for a bit but I never felt like myself when I was taking it.. To all my addict friends, I highly recommend this drug. It keeps the monkey on my back satisfied by taking just one a day. Wow! I actually feel happy most of the time.

6:43 am December 11th, 2013

I really like this drug and think others would greatly benefit from it. As to getting off of it, is it any worse than getting off Lexipro. I hated that drug. Drama-dol helps me with binge eating, too. I am physically active when my joints don’t hurt yet I sleep soundly at night. I feel content !!! and that is a very nice place to be

Margie Hartman
1:49 am December 21st, 2013

Best thing since sliced bread. No addiction associated with it that I could find. I take one in the morning and one around 2 PM. If I didn’t take it, I would be a screaming, blooming idiot. Have used a walker, can, crawled, etc. With this miracle drug I am alive and on my feet. I am never free of pain, but, I am just about as free as I am ever going to get. This is not a narcotic. It works like Codeine they say. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have had it for about 25 years. I didn’t know if I could survive until my daughter said, “Mom, you need to try Tramadol.” Then, I started surviving for real. Everything has a side effect. With Tramadol, I have found no side effects. The first few months I couldn’t stand the taste of sugar. Some constipation for which I use one little stool softener a day. It is definitely my cup of tea.

samira haddad
11:24 pm May 23rd, 2014

I have for the last 10 years chronic cough, two days ago The Doctor prescribed 25mg of tramadol
at night only. I am afraid that I might be addicted to it in the future.
At night I sleep I cough like 10% less than before at night. Day time still coughing and I am tired.
What do you suggest since I am afraid from this addiction after I read for almost 2 hours about this medicine.
Your help is appreciated.

8:51 am May 27th, 2014

Hello Samira. You may develop physical dependence on tramadol after daily use for more than a week, or so… but this is not addiction. Have you looked into other anti-tussives? Here’s an article you might find interesting:

7:50 am July 12th, 2014

Your blog is very nice and it seems that you have posted it after deep study of the matter.

jeff berry
3:26 pm August 1st, 2014

I was put on that stuff years ago ( 10 or 11 after i got hep c from my wife which they said i could not and was on vicodane for a few years which contained 500mlgs of evil tylenol and was taking 4 aday sooooooooo 2000 mlgs a day! the doctor who gave me this told me tramodol was not addiictive and no withdrawals and the pharmistist told me the same! sooooooooooooooo when i was not working(const 30 years) i quit well 3 days later terriable withdrawls! i do not like any doctors etc because if i would have been on plain oxycodone none of this would have happened and it works wonders1 tylenol kills your live ibu causes heart attacks strokes and can ruin your stoumach asprin does the same and all nasids are bullcr##p! The only thing with narcotics alone are withdrawl if a stupid docor takes you off of them and constip[ation which i cured with 2 bowls of granola a day and you need more as time goes by1 so to all the doctor shoppers and pill pigs the best thing for you is to od! i have been sober 19 years and yes i take oxeycodone every day but to get it i had to go to colorado to find a doctor to give it to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! let alone the drug laws in this country1 drink yourself to death or smoke yourself to death and nothing is done but do drugs and you are condemmed by soooooooo many1 do what portugal did 15 years ago decrimanalize all drugs and it has truly worked1LOOK IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am 59 and have worked my tail off for 40 years and played music that long and am tired of being treated loke a kid or drug addict! NEVER TELL A DOCTOR YOU ARE ALKIE!!!!!! Or you will go threw needless pain1 ive been around aa for 41 years and studued it for 30 plus! it took so many years to do the deal and thank god im at peace and god will not let me abuse my pain pills or my xanax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Peace Love hope and May the power of Guide and bless you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1:24 am August 18th, 2014

I appreciate the information you gave in this article, as a current tramadol user (patient). Just wanted to give you an update that I recently received. “The U.S. DEA has recently determined that tramadol will soon become a federal controlled substance, similar to other pain medications.” This change takes place on August 18, 2014.

12:24 am September 2nd, 2014

My name is Kim my fiance is Mike. Both, Mike and I have battled and still do with opiate addiction; preferably vicodin now replaced by “norco”. In the present now both having had tramadol prescribed Mike and I both feel great over talk and comparison is Tramadol much outwieghs “norco” but in a sense is same re: pain relief, same euphoria (mimics mood stabalizerers like depakote, also more real energy) unlike the nasty “vicodin crappies)…….Thank you, Kimberly and Mike.

1:20 am January 3rd, 2015

Your information on the Tramadol is incorrect it is contra indicated for someone who has an allergy to codeine to take the Tramadol

2:54 am January 17th, 2015

While Ultram did relieve the neck pain, the side effects of cold-sweats, extreme nausea and feeling like fainting was horrible. It felt like the times I had been given morphine or codine in the hospital. Awful! I wonder if I took Zofran before taking Ultram if I would be alright.

chris h
12:08 am February 2nd, 2015

i have taken tramadol for months i never had any kind of addiction to it so i dont see how it can be addictive i can easily come off them and feel no side effects unlike norco or percocet

7:25 am March 8th, 2015

Will tramadol show up in a urine test

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