How long does Tramadol take to work?

Tramadol action time varies by dose and route of administration. If you are in pain, we offer an explanation of when you can expect Tramadol to work here.

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Tramadol provides pain relief. But when do the effects kick in? We review the basic pharmacology here.

Tramadol uses

Tramadol is used for both acute and chronic pain conditions and the opioid provides moderate to severe pain relief (analgesia). Doctors prescribe Tramadol for conditions such as post surgical pain, obstetric pain, terminal cancer pain and also use Tramadol as an adjuvant therapy in anesthesia. In fact Tramadol uses are wide ranging, as doctors prefer the drug to heavier opioids that carry higher risk for addiction. This is why medical conditions ranging from treating acid reflux to nerve disorders are all treated using Tramadol.

Tramadol analgesic effects

Doctors use Tramadol for its relatively efficient pain relief and low risk of addiction. But before you take it, you should know that Tramadol causes euphoria. If you think that you might have a problem using Tramadol, please leave your questions below. We’ll be happy to answer them personally and quickly.

The time it take for you to feel the pain relief provided by Tramadol depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • age
  • general health
  • mode of administration
  • type of Tramadol

Types of Tramadol

Tramadol is available in short and long-acting formulations (brand name Ultram ER). Tramadol is also prepared in fixed combination with acetaminophen or is prescribed alone.

Tramadol mode of administration

Doctors generally prescribe Tramadol as an oral tablet, but the medicine can also be delivered via oral drops, rectal suppositories, oral tablets, local injection (dentistry) or via intravenous administration for people who are medically supervised.

When does Tramadol start working?

In healthy adults, pain relief is felt almost immediately if Tramadol is administered locally via intra-dermal injection (through the skin). And Tramadol absorption is similarly rapid in oral liquid doses.

Tramadol levels in the blood peak 2 hours after taking a 100 mg oral dose. In clinical studies, the onset of pain relief was faster with a combination formula of tramadol hydrochloride and acetaminophen (brand name Ultracet) than Tramadol alone. Onset of analgesia (pain relief) occurred in less than one hour. However, it takes 2 days to reach steady-state concentrations of Tramadol in the blood at a dosing rate of four times per day.

As stated before Tramadol works differently for every person. Some people register no pain relief from Tramadol, even after days of taking it and especially if they are taking other opioid pain pills at the same time. Other people feel immediate local pain relief, especially when Tramadol is injected under the skin before dental surgery. And although Tramadol is designed as a low-risk pain reliever, it can be addictive.

Reference sources: Analgesic Efficacy of Tramadol by Route of Administration
Tramadol hydrochloride medication description from Daily Med
Pharmacokinetics of Oral Tramadol Drops for PostOperative Pain Relief
Pharmacologic Management of Pain – National Cancer Institute
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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