How is tramadol prescribed?

Tramadol is an opioid medication prescribed in starting odses of 25 mg to help manage pain and withdrawal symptoms. More on Tramadol dosage, cost, and prescriptions here.

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What do doctors prescribe tramadol for?

Tramadol is a prescription drug used to manage mild to moderate pain, as well as the withdrawal symptoms of opiate and opioid addiction.  How does tramadol affect the brain?  Tramadol works by altering the way that pain is perceived in the brain. Because tramadol can sometimes cause feelings of euphoria, and tramadol dependence time occurs within 3-4 weeks of use, tramadol is only available and used legally with a prescription from a medical doctor.

Tramadol prescription dosage

Tramadol duration of action for immediate release versions is around 4-6 hours.  Doctors will usually start patients on 25 mg of tramadol. Eventually, you may end up taking 50 mg – 100 mg doses not more than 4 times a day. The safe dose of tramadol will depend on your unique medical history as well as your previous exposure to opiates or opioid medications.

Tramadol prescription cost

As with any prescription drug, the cost of paying to fill a prescription for tramadol will depend on your insurance. In some states, generic tramadol is offered by various drug store chains for less than $10. But tramadol can cost around $60 per refill if you don’t have insurance and are not eligible for a discount program.

Can you get tramadol over the counter?

No. You cannot get Tramadol over the counter. Tramadol is available by prescription only.Tramadol is potentially addictive, and although the addiction liability for tramadol is relatively low when compared with other opioids like hydrocodone or oxycodone, tramadol is only prescribed to people experiencing pain which can’t be helped by over-the-counter medication.

Signs of Tramadol prescription drug abuse

If you use tramadol to help manage pain, you might develop a tolerance and dependence on the medication, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are addicted to tramadol. Instead, tramadol abuse and resulting addiction usually occurs when people take tramadol specifically to get high.

Tramadol is less addictive than other, similar medications, but it can still be abused to “get high”. An addiction to tramadol results in a psychological compulsion to seek out the drug, even when it has negative effects on the addict’s personal or professional life. And signs of tramadol prescription drug abuse include taking tramadol:

1. in higher doses than prescribed

2. more frequently than prescribed

3. without a prescription

Tramadol prescription questions

Do you still have questions about Tramadol prescriptions? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources:PubMed Health: Tramadol
DailyMed: Tramadol Hydrochloride
ToxNet: Tramadol
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. Is tramadol better than oxycodone, because I broke my tibial bone, and my OS Dr. Prescribed me tramadol, is not helping my pain?

  2. I’m in pain management, and my Dr had me on 10 mg of Methadone 3 times a day and Norco 10/325 twice a day. I had been on this dosage for over ten years and never had a problem controlling pai and no euphoria. Recently he took me off the Methadone. My average pain level shit up from 4 to 8 on the pain scale. He tried Percocet and it did nothing for my pain. I’d like to know if Tramadol might give me better relief? I’ve never tried I, so I’m in the dark as to what how much it could help my chronic pain. Any information would be helpful.
    Thanks for your help, Joe

    1. Hi Joe. You may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to methadone dependence. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to adjust the dosage of your medications, not just switching to new ones.

  3. Im 62 yrs old. Ive suffered from trigeminal nuerolga for yrs. Gamma knife helped relieve the pain. Now Im experiencing lwr back pain. Its getting so I cannot sleep. I have a heart stint since 2015. My question is it possible I could find relief for my pain in this drug?

  4. Is tramadol better then oxycodone for very bad back pain i had multiple back surgeries with the last one about three years ago and the last one was a total of a7 Level spineal Fusion i am in pain all the time please help me

    1. Hi Kim. He/she is a doctor and has a licence to prescribe Tramadol. I suggest to speak with that Ob dr about the reason for Tramadol prescription.

  5. My doctor wants me to come off tramadol but I suffer with fibromyalgia/chronic pain. How on earth will I be able to cope with the terrible pain I experience if and when I come off it. I have tried before without success because of the awful all over body pain I suffer from.

    1. Hi Rowena. If you need pain management and are coming off of Tramadol, your doctor should prescribe you another medication that will help you deal with your condition. Ask your doctor why s/he feels it’s necessary to quit Tramadol. And, if s/he plans to provide another medication for pain relief?

    1. Hello, Llod. Yes, you can use a pill splitter. But, have talk with your doctor about tramadol dosage? If not, please do.

    1. Hi Jacqueline. Yes, doctors may prescribe tramadol and paracetamol to patients who need greater pain relief. You will be safe as long as you take it in the time-frames and doses recommended by your doctor.

  6. I take 50mg Tramadol tablets. I have one pill that broke in half. Is it ok to take one half with another whole pill. Or is it bad to take them once they have been broken?

    1. Hi John. Why not take the broken pieces of the pill together? Nothing bad or dangerous will happen, but you have no reason to take a higher dose of tramadol.

    1. Hello Oranetta. If you have taken them at once as prescribed by doctor, then you should be ok. If you are not prescribed Tramadol and especially if you are not a regular user, you shouldn’t be talking it in any dosage.

  7. Hi Colin. If you experience problems while taking tramadol, you should talk to your doctor immediately about discontinuing the medication. Tramadol is not right for everyone. There may be other medications you’re taking which interact with tramadol, so always check with your pharmacist before taking any new medications.

  8. Hello Jeanne. I’d suggest that you check with your state Attorney General’s office to see what rights you have in terms of collecting your medical records. Then, consult with a new prescribing doctor or a pharmacist about the symptoms that you’re experiencing. Record them on a calendar, including dosing information and intensity of symptom…and seek professional medical help. Best to you!

  9. I have been taking oxycontin nearly 19 years prescribed by my primary care physician, sated at 10mg,then 20mg then as years went by the mg went to 4omg then for the past 3 to 4 years my dr. has prescribed me 240mg daily to take. He has discharged me from his practice with no reason, no referrals to pain mg, nothing. I have called many times with no return calls. I have written a few letters asking why he discharged me? and there has been no response. I have ask for my Medical records(filled out a release form) there has been no response. Nothing bad has happened. My last appointment with my Dr. was on March 25th @ 3:30 the appt. went well. I am at a lost. I search for another dr. for over 2 months that could treat me for my many conditions. Found one Dr and he prescribed me Tramadol (generic) I am scared to take it I do not know anything about it, the dr. did not tell me about it. I am still at a huge lost. I am trying to see if a medication named Vitadone will help me with my horrible sickness of withdrawls I am having or what/ Can anyone please help me

    with kind regards Jeanne

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