Cold turkey tramadol

Is going cold turkey off tramadol recommended. No. More here on protocols for tramadol withdrawal and SAFELY stopping tramadol.

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Going cold turkey tramadol?

What does tramadol withdrawal feel like?  A bad flu.  So can I just stop taking tramadol?  No. We suggest that you consider tapering tramadol doses first.  Why?  Because even through tramadol is not a scheduled narcotic, tramadol’s interaction with the brain’s chemistry provokes both typical and atypical symptoms during tramadol withdrawal.  This means you risk seizures, serotonin syndrome and potential coma by stopping tramadol cold turkey.

In fact, tramadol is a pain killer with a unique opiate chemistry that also has effects on serotonin levels.  In this article, we take examine the safety of going cold turkey off tramadol and tramadol detox treatment. More here on what doctors recommend and what conditions need to be present for safely stopping tramadol cold turkey. Then, we invite your questions about tramadol at the end.

Stopping tramadol cold turkey risks

There are risks involved with stopping cold turkey. You can’t always account or anticipate what may go wrong, because each person reacts individually to stopping tramadol cold turkey. And the extreme withdrawal that occurs when quitting tramadol abruptly can be not only painful, but dangerous. Some risks you run with stopping tramadol cold turkey include:

  • brain zaps
  • erratic heart beat
  • increased blood pressure
  • potential coma
  • potential fatality
  • SSRI discontinuation syndrome
  • suicidal thought due to depression
  • seizures
  • severe mood swings

Cold turkey tramadol withdrawal

Cold turkey tramadol withdrawal can trigger severe or intense symptoms that can require medical attention. Because of tramadol’s unique effect on the body, tramadol is considered to provoke two types tramadol withdrawal symptoms. Typical opioid withdrawal symptoms may be present such as nausea, restlessness, and insomnia. But other atypical withdrawal symptoms are also possible during cold turkey tramadol withdrawal. This second set of withdrawal symptoms are similar to signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal and can include paranoia, seizures, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and confusion.

Tapering down your doses of tramadol helps to ease withdrawal symptoms. Stopping tramadol suddenly does the opposite. Symptoms of tramadol withdrawal become more intense or severe when you go off tramadol cold turkey. Why? A cold turkey tramadol withdrawal is a sudden and severe shock to the system. The body immediately attempts to neutralize the fact tramadol is no longer in the body. Stopping cold turkey can provoke the following:

  • abdominal distress
  • dysphoria
  • insomnia
  • muscle cramps
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping

Keep in mind that tramadol withdrawal takes longer than other types of opiates because of its effect on serotonin levels. It can take up to about a week and half to start to even out and feel normal after tramadol withdrawal. Symptoms related to Serotonin levels and other symptoms which affect mood and sleep can possibly last for months before you can regain full recovery of sleep and disruption in serotonin levels. The point here is that intensity of symptoms peak when you provoke cold turkey tramadol withdrawal rather than taper.

Quitting tramadol cold turkey

Who are the best candidates for quitting tramadol cold turkey? Everyone is going to be different and react to cold turkey withdrawal differently. It is a little hard to determine with tramadol how quitting tramadol cold turkey withdrawal is going to go.

The best possible situation for someone to stop tramadol cold turkey is the person who hasn’t been using tramadol for a very long time and has little dependency to the drug. Also, if you are in prime physical health this can help the success of quitting tramadol cold turkey. It is also recommended that you DO NOT take other substances or medications that can complicate withdrawal from cold turkey. That is, stay away from things like alcohol, other opiates, or central nervous system depressants that will hinder your body’s ability to address withdrawal.

Because the process of withdrawal is taxing not only on the body, but on the mind, you will need to be dedicated and really want to stop taking tramadol. Once withdrawal starts people have a hard time living through the pain and discomfort and may find themselves quickly using tramadol to alleviate symptoms. If this becomes a cycle of repeat use, it may be better to find an alternative way to stop tramadol.

Cold turkey off tramadol

If you are going cold turkey off tramadol, doctors recommend doing so through detox. With the help of a detox clinic, you will still stop taking tramadol but it’ll be under the supervision of a clinician who can treat your symptoms with medication or help you compensate for the withdrawal effect. This can be done in a hospital or treatment facility.

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to tramadol, it is highly recommended that you look into the positive effects of rehabilitation. The risks associated with immediate withdrawal are heavily outweighed by the benefits of seeking legitimate help. Though you may feel like you can handle the symptoms on your own, you may be putting your health at greater risk. All you need to do is take a quick look online to learn more about the benefits of professional rehabilitation. Choosing to do so will allow you to recover in an immensely healthy manner while being surrounded by medical professionals in a comforting environment.

Get off tramadol cold turkey

Doctors don’t really recommended you quit tramadol cold turkey if you can help it. They feel that withdrawal doesn’t have to be severe or painful. They would rather you instead taper your doses of tramadol slowly. The reason is that when you taper, your doctor can help monitor your withdrawal to the point you may not even have to feel the harsh effects of withdrawal at all. It’s also safer.

What’s the best alternative to getting of tramadol cold turkey? The key way to treating tramadol withdrawal symptoms is to first slowly reduce medication intake and taper off tramadol while supporting symptomatic reactions to the withdrawal. So how do doctors taper tramadol?  And what’s the ideal time for how long to withdraw from tramadol,

Before tapering off tramadol, ALWAYS seek medical advice and supervision. In general, a decrease by 10% of the original tramadol dose per week is usually well tolerated with minimal physiological adverse effects. Some people can be tapered more rapidly without problems (over 6 to 8 weeks), while others may need to slow the taper timeline to monthly, rather than weekly, dosage adjustments. Doctors might also recommend antidepressants to manage irritability, sleep disturbance or antiepileptics for neuropathic pain. Speak with your prescribing doctor for an individualized plan to get you off tramadol with minimal discomfort.

Can I quit tramadol cold turkey?

In general, it is best not to quit tramadol cold turkey. However, if you are in good health and have the support, mind set, and environment to go cold turkey…this method may be for you. You need to know that the process is going to be hard and painful. It will take your mental will power and your physical well-being and test it. If you find yourself unable to quit tramadol cold turkey then don’t worry. It’s not for everyone. In this case, talk to a doctor so you can find an alternative solution that can help you to effectively quit tramadol.

Cold turkey tramadol questions

Do you still have questions about stopping tramadol cold turkey? Please provide us with your questions or experiences below. We would love to hear from people who have tried stopping tramadol cold turkey. Your experiences are important to us. And we try to respond to each comment personally.

Reference Sources: Utah Clinical Guidelines on Prescribing Opioids for Treatment of Pain: Strategies for Tapering & Weaning
The National Pain Association: Abrupt withdrawal
Drug Enforcement Administration Drugs of Concern: Tramadol
NCBI: Physical dependence potential of daily Tramadol dosing in humans
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. HI anyone have ketamine infusions? Did they help how expensive are they does insurance cover it? I am off tramadol 6th day seems like 6 years. Dr. cut me off cold turkey… 🙁 not going so great…. thank you and I Pray you can all get some relief from Pain, etc. God Bless you all….. Janet

  2. Dear blog, My dr. took me off tramadol cold turkey, I called for a refill and only had 3 left so I split everyone in half and did half a night.. today is going to be my 2nd night without it. I have FM, RA, gout, suffer from panic and anxiety attacks shoulder leg and hip pain and the disks in my back are buldign and herniated and also have high bp, cholesterol, and diabetes… all i want to do is sleep… I am in pain that is normal 24 7 but i don’t know how she expects me to just go cold turkey? i have been sober for 27 years now i did that on my own but not so sure about doing this on my own.. today i just cryed… any suggestions? The pain management dr. who i had is a NP not a real MD. not very happy with her.. I have gone to her for 2 years and no success with all my pain… she recommended ketamine infusions.. any suggestion on this… I am 56 and take 20 otc meds now…. any help would be so greatly appreciated… Thank you…

  3. Hello!I had a nightmare that lasted 4 years with this drug. Since the summer of 2014 I started taking this drug with the first 2 months with about 300-400 mg’s/ day immediate release. After about a year and a half I gained so much tolerance from this drug that I was taking about 500 mg/day-5 ER 100mg pills/day.Now, after all these years I was taking 2500 mg/day, YES, you read that correctly. Since I started taking it, after 1 year I had my first seizure and I was lucky enough that at even those huge doses I had only 4 seizures and no physical damage, just a tremendous addiction.I was hospitalized 2 times in 2 different mental clinics, but with no success, I was always going back to this habit.Now I take 5 pills of Neurontin 300 mg/day, 3 loperamide and 4-1/4 pills of clonidine/day. Neurontin helps to manage the SSRI discontinuation effects, loperamide helps with diarrhea and clonidine helps with the increased heat rate and some of the opiate withdrawal symptoms. Now I am 2 weeks Tramadol free and I can say it was bad, but manageable.I also stopped cold turkey. Anyone who is interested might try this if other options have failed. I am interested to know if anyone will gain results from this.Wish you the best!

  4. My doctor had me on tramadol for 20 years. One day h e said he was cutting me off. I have been suffering for a long time now. Sometimes I want to. Call an ambulance and go to emergency room what do you think

  5. I have been on 400mg tramadol per day have just left Saint Andrews Hospital to withdrawl of tramadol as my Proffesor said the killer drug I went cold turkey and still feel terrible no way would I touch the drug again.In the valley Brisbane they are selling for $28.oo per tablet never again.

  6. Hello everyone
    I took tramadol for ten days then I suddenly quit it and now since two days I can’t sleep and I’m warm n cold..
    I feel cold in my back n I’m really weak now.
    I want to ask how many days cold turkey stay???

  7. I have been on 50 mg tabs twice a day for years.I have been cold turkey for three day now.Today the third day I have had diahera , sneezing and runny nose. I am 80 years old.

  8. Hey all,
    I just wanted to give my support and share my story. I was addicted to tramadol for the better part of 6 years. At its peak, I was taking 25 to 30 50mg tablets every day. I’m ashamed to say, the only reason I started taking them was a trip to Cancun with friends where I thought it would be fun. By the end of the trip, I was already hooked. I was living on the Texas Mexico border, so it was all to easy to run across the border and get them whenever I needed them. In time, it completely ruined my relationship with my wife and my children. About a year ago, I said enough is enough. I decided to quit cold turkey. Knowing what I know now, I definitely would not recommend cold turkey, but that is exactly what I did. For the first 5 days, it was pure hell. By day 6 or 7, most of the Acura symptoms were gone, but I still had trouble sleeping and was dealing with some serious depression for another 2 weeks or so. I wish I had kept a journal to give you a more accurate timeline. I can however tell you that I was back to my old self within a month of my last dose. I am happy to say that a year later, my relationship with my wife and kids has never been better. If you are going through this, hang in there. It DOES get better.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Britton. It means a lot to us, and I hope that others will find an inspiration in your comment. All the best!

  9. Dear Ella,

    Your questions are NOT stupid but coming from love for your boyfriend. Just be with him, wach some funny movie, enjoy zen music…the depression and body reaction making him feel like hell. Your are his only hope. I will pray realy for you and him.




  10. Dear Dean, thank you for your advice. I really need some advice from someone who was an addict or at least know more information than I. I really understand the situation and I read a lot about addiction, but still…the best advice could give only the person who knows directly about tramadol. My boyfriend communicates only with me and I ‘ve found some medical help for him. They gave him an iv yesterday and that’s all…Today is the 6th day. Before tramadol he was heroin addict for 10yrs. He’s still alone and keeps telling that he wants to get through the process all by himself. I would really like to help him, but I dont know how and that makes me feel really helpless…I know my questions are probably stupid, but I would really like to know what to do…

  11. Dear Ella,

    Your bf will and alredy go through HELL. Call any medical person to help him ASAP. I am addicted to demm tramadol and traying tapering for 2 years but no sucess…..wish you all luck.

  12. Hi, I really find this site and especially your comments very usefull. I need an advice. My boyfriend was heroin addict and he stopped using heroin 2yrs ago, but after that he was prescribed tramadol and he started to abuse it, i suppose about 300mg per day, sometimes even much more. Now he decided to go on cold turkey and he locked himself in the house. He said it’s the only way because with dose tapering he would have cravings for heroin. Now I am concerned and want to how long that will take and what to do after the peak of the symptoms. He doesnt want to go on any kind of drugs, such as antidepressants. I m afraid that he will develop severe depression and any peace of advice is welcomed. Thank you.

  13. Hi all. I’ve been off tramadol now since January 2nd 2016
    I did cold turkey and yes it’s hell.
    Cold sweats. Nausea. Diarrhea. Restless legs. Tingling sensation down below. ( that was the worst ever).
    It lasted 6 days with no sleep then insomnia kicks in.
    2 weeks in total but it was worth it.
    Doodle I miss them. Hell yes but never again.
    Folks I did a video diary of every day from start to finish to remind me of the with drawel symptoms.
    Please hang in there. Its worth it. It don’t seem at the time but really it is.
    Once your over the worst and yet he insomnia goes and it will it’s a new start. Good luck folks and I hope this will inspire you to beat this

  14. hi all i feel you all this is my 2nd day off tramadol cold turkey
    its a hell no sleep my legs is restless , no sleeping pills works for me
    so 2 days no sleep i beleive after the 3rd day the sleep may get better
    but im determined im going to see a doctor in 2 days i was taking tramadol non prescribed so i will tell him the truth but he is a general doctor im not sure if he can help would he ? and if not what kind of doctor should i see to prescribe something ease the symptomos ?
    and also my mouth and tounge are num im not sure if this is a normal symptoms ?

  15. I have been on 250 mlg of tremadol for 2 years now. Yesterday I went to see a doctor whom I though would continue with my prescription, instead he helped me develop a plan to get off. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to be that easy. He prescribed me Naltrexone and let me tell you last night was pure HELL! I literally thought I was going to end up in the ER because the skin crawling and burning sensations along with stomach cramps were about to drive me over the edge. I tossed and turned all night, ended up taking 2 doses of Tramadol thinking it would help, never did because Naltrexone blocks the affects of Tramadaol. I took the Naltrexone at 9:00pm last night, as of right now, 12:51 pm I still feel skin crawling sensation. I just want to make it stop and I’m so scared to get off the Tramadol. I wonder what else can be prescribed to allow me to sleep and how I should cut down on them? My doc said 50 milg a week, so last night I normally take (2) 50 mlg pills at 5:00pm, I only took one. I hate feeling this way and feeling like such a drug addict, I just want to be normal. This will be my 3rd time getting off Tremadol. First time only lasted a few months, the depression and fatigue I had while not being on it was too much so I started back. Then I got pregnant in Feb 2012 and quit cold turkey. Let me tell you that was pure hell! I quit smoking cigarettes and quit Tremadol same day. I didn’t sleep for at least a week and never felt normal the whole pregnancy, just depressed. Now this is the 3rd time, hope 3rd time’s the charm….

  16. Trying to quit tramadol I am on 200mg a day for 3 months and want to quit cold turkey
    Need advise
    I feel back bond pain and withdraw I also have anxiety and restlessness I feel like I can’t breath
    I took ibprophin 1 800mg I am on day two but my anxiety is killing me please advise
    Any help is appreciated

  17. My dr. Doesn’t know what to
    Prescribe that could ease the withdrawal
    Symtoms off tramadol. A good muscle relaxer I know would help, something to help sleep, aches and pains of flu line symtoms. What else could he help me with?

  18. I have no more tramadol to taper off. I threw them all away. I was on a pretty high dose. With my Drs help can I do this at home?

  19. My husband has been on tramadol for about 5 years. He wants off but he can not control himself. We have been the three primary physicians. All of themy say he has taper down but non of them are working with him. We have tried to get into pain specialist and psychologist but all of them do not call back or the have a waiting lis to even get an appointment. How do we find the perfect doctor to help us now and get us in soon. He has all of the withdrawal symptoms.

  20. I have been on Tramadol for well over a year. I was up to 150 mg per day, and I have for the past several months,only been on 25- 50mg total amount for one day. It has been over 24 hours since my last pill. I can not get a refill due to the new prescription laws that have now listed Tramadol as an controlled substance. I have been wanting to get off for some time now and that is why I cut down to around 50 mg per day. I have been afraid to get off completely. But now since I can’t get a refill I am going to have to. I already feel very weird with chills and difficulty catching a good amount of air. I also feel tingling and weakness in my limbs. Is this possible with cutting down from such a small amount? From 50 mg to nothing? Any feedback is welcome. Thank you!

    P.s. I am a small person who is around 105 pounds Female. Maybe because of my size 50mg is stronger than it is for others. Just guessing…

  21. Hi Mike. This is one question hard to answer. Depends if you are using it for a medical condition or abusing it, the dose and frequency, your organism etc. Tolerance to tramadol usually develops after 2-3 weeks of use. You know your body has become dependent on tramadol when you strat experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever you ceise use. But addiction? You could be addicted to it from the first time you took it.

  22. Hi Mike, in my experience it depends. But in 2-3 month addiction can come….hope you haven’t developed it yet…I’m still fighting to reduce pills

  23. Dean, I was taking 6-8 50mg daily for 1 and half years. Also I was taking 6 lortab 10’s. All prescribed by Dr. After my car accident. My body kept being immune and they upped the dose. You can do it. It’s a mind thing to… my buddy did it cold turkey before me. And we have the same stories. I still have 200 tramadol in my dresser. And nothing would make me go back to that. It’s like you go thru two sets of withdrawals. The first 3 days are the worse… and the insomnia is hell. But its worth it. And you can take sleep aid to help with sleeping. In my case I did the flexiril that I had an abundance of that I never took and I took them the same time every night to get my body used to going to sleep. Now I am a new old me. Good luck! You can do it!

  24. Bravo Sherry!!!!!! I hope that I will also remove this garbage from my life… you did cold turkey? How long you where on tramadol? What was daily amount? I realy need help….instead recuding the pills I stay at 7 (32.5 mg) per day….HELP

  25. just want to update. I did it !!!!!! Totally off tramdol it was hell for the first 10 days. but I did it cold turkey after the first withdraws of running to bathroom and it coming out both directions. That lasted 3 days along with the restless legs and jumping of legs which lasted good week or more then it was just insomnia and no energy…it took a good month before I could sleep at nite. It was like I’d stay up for two days straight then I would crash. I started taking flexril at nite to sleep daily I did that for about two weeks.

  26. Hello Charlene. Quitting tramadol cold turkey is not recommended by doctors, and usually done by detoxing and tapering down doses gradually under the supervision of medical professionals. If you are doing it all on your own, it could be dangerous and you might experience some serious withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps tapering off tramadol, gradually and according to a tapering schedule is a better idea. Otherwise it’s suggested that you have medical support during this period in time.

  27. Charlene,
    Please be very careful…prepare for hell and think every moment on future that you will enjoy. Keep update. I will pray for you.


  28. Please help! I have been on tramadol for a year now! I have to go cold turkey. I have no more what can help me…I can not tell any one

  29. Hello Sherry. Insomnia usually persists for about 7-10 days after cessation but sleeping problems can persist for week or months after last use. However, consult with your prescribing physician and a pharmacist for more clear answers and suggestions. Look into alternative sleep aids like melatonin or even chamomile tea. And perhaps even look into the work of meditation. A few changes in lifestyle can go a long way to achieving healthy sleep after detox. Best of luck to you!

  30. I stop cold turkey after taking 400 ml daily for year and a half. this is my 10th day.its been pure hell. The first 3 days I had nausea diarrhea and could not sleep at all. I saw a video on u tube. Which suggested to take flexiril for sleep. I tryed it still couldn’t sleep. My legs were driving me crazy and my skin was crawling. now I still can’t sleep got 2 hours yesterday morning. but I am not sleeping at nite . I am currently not taking any medications. All though I drank a cpl of glasses of red wine and I thought it would help me sleep. Negative. It seems like I stay awake for two days before I can catch a nap. I am also very drained with no energy. So my question is how long will it take for me to sleep at nite . I am truley going crazy over lack of sleep all other symptoms have stopped. So after day 10 is there anything else that’s in store for me or have I mastered the worst.

  31. Thank you for your email. I will definitely follow the instructions and speak with pharmas and doctors.



    P.S. I will inform you how the things will develop

  32. I do have a problem with tramal, daily 4 pils max. We do not have near any spec. clinics for detox….so my question is how to make detox on my on? I talk with my doctor (actually 2) and they think that tramal is not problem. Please help.


    Dean Zed

  33. Great article! Unfortunately my son went on and off Tramadol simply by running out of the drug. In 20 months he had 8 seizures. It is still unknown if he does or does not have residual damage. He ended up addicted to both Tramadol and Oxycontin. He’s 2 weeks out of a 28 day inpatient treatment. He now takes Suboxone, Lexapro and Concerta under medical supervision, he’s 27. While newly sober is a challenge for all of us, I sure dont miss the seizures and trips to the hospital. His last 3 seizures were concurrent. The first of the three lasting over 20 mins. Unheard of in the traditional seizure episode. The next two following were awake and unresponsive. The worse night of my life until he overdosed on Oxycontin in October. I found him for that too. So, please head the warnings in this article. Tapering alone is bad enough, you can’t just stop. Seek medical help, it will save your life.

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