Let’s Talk About Ultram (Tramadol): The Basics Everyone Should Know

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Let’s Talk About Ultram (Tramadol): The Basics Everyone Should Know

Have you ever heard of Ultram, the prescription opioid drug? This is a list of what most people know about the drug called Ultram:

  • It is a prescription drug
  • It is a painkiller
  • People often take it after surgery or for conditions like fibromyalgia

And this is a list of what is most important to know about Ultram:

  • It has the potential for abuse
  • It is highly addictive
  • It can be dangerous in large doses

Clearly, there is a difference between knowing that Ultram works as a prescription-strength painkiller and understanding that the drug can be dangerous.

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Understanding Ultram as an Addictive Drug

While we do address the basics of how tramadol works and what the right dosage is, the core of this post is to address the potential of Ultram abuse and addiction. We address some of the major questions surrounding Ultram, including:

  • Is tramadol an opioid?
  • Is tramadol a painkiller?
  • Is tramadol safe?
  • What is Ultram 50mg?

Ultram (tramadol) is a narcotic-like painkiller, which means that the main active ingredient in the drug acts like an opioid. As an opioid, the drug is very good at blocking pain. It is also very strong, which means that it can be addictive if abused at all. With that in mind, consider this post before taking tramadol – or before continuing in your abuse of the drug.

Tramadol: What It Does

Ultram, the brand name for tramadol, is a prescription medication designed to reduce pain. Because it is used to treat moderate and moderately severe pain, it is most commonly prescribed after a major surgery – or to those with fibromyalgia.

Tramadol: How it Works

As a prescription opioid, tramadol blocks pain by changing the nervous system and brain at the hormonal level. At the same time, the drug raises the level of dopamine in the brain – which is just one of the things that can make Ultram addictive.

It is also worth noting that tramadol is not a natural opiate – it is a synthetic opioid analgesic. While opioids like Ultram have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, they are generally much stronger than naturally occurring opiates. For instance, hydromorphone is considered ten times stronger than morphine (a natural opiate).

This is an important distinction since strong opioids can easily lead to addiction for the average person.

“Natural opiates are acquired by processing the dried milk of the opium poppy plant. Synthetic opiates, on the other hand, are formulated in labs to create a product with an identical chemical structure.”

~ The Fix

Tramadol: How to Use It

In short, tramadol (Ultram) is used to reduce pain – but only in limited doses. Usually administered in a tablet, Ultram is typically prescribed as either tramadol 50mg or tramadol 100mg. This means that there is either 50 milligrams or 100 milligrams per tablet.

The recommended dose is to take one tablet every four to six hours, only if the pain increases. Over the course of an entire day, you should never take more than 400mg.

  • Ultram 50mg: The most common dosage for tramadol. Taken four to six times each day.
  • Ultram 100mg: A stronger dosage for tramadol. Taken at most four times each day.

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Tramadol: The Side Effects

Even in normal use, Ultram can give way to several different side effects. These include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • A slowed heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • A lowered sex drive
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A loss of appetite
  • A skin reaction (i.e. a rash)
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Seizure (in rare cases)

“Tramadol is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.”

~ U.S. National Library of Medicine

In short, the answers to the questions outlined above are as follows:

Is tramadol an opioid?


Is tramadol a painkiller?


Is tramadol safe?


More detailed answers, as well as the answers to other questions, can be found by reading on.

Common Questions About Tramadol

What is tramadol?

Branded as Ultram, tramadol is a narcotic analgesic – which means it is a prescription-strength painkiller. As a painkiller, tramadol 50mg is typically used to treat pain after surgery.

Is tramadol an opioid?

Yes, tramadol is considered an opioid. It is a synthetic opioid drug. This means that it was created in a lab to mimic the effects of natural opiates, like morphine. It also means that Ultram can be addictive if it is abused.

Is tramadol a painkiller?

Yes, tramadol is a painkiller. While it is not as strong as other forms of painkillers, like Vicodin, Ultram pills have about the same strength as codeine.

Does Ultram have any benefits over other pain medication?

Yes. Ultram is much stronger than over-the-counter painkillers, and can, therefore, treat pain much more effectively. It is also not as strong as other opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone or oxycontin, so it is generally considered safer (the potential for addiction is still present, however).

Can you get a tramadol high?

When it is taken as prescribed (i.e. one single tramadol 50mg), you cannot get a tramadol high. As an extended-release drug, Ultram enters the brain slowly when it is taken orally. However, the drug can be crushed up and snorted. This makes the tramadol reach your brain much quicker, resulting in the euphoric high associated with other opioids. Note: A tramadol high is not a good idea.

Is snorting Ultram a thing?

Yes – this is considered tramadol abuse.

Is tramadol safe to use?

When it is used as prescribed, tramadol is safe to use. That said, if you have a history of drug abuse or addiction, you should probably talk to your doctor about another alternative. When tramadol is abused – by taking more of the drug, taking it more often, or snorting it – it is not considered safe.

What is Ultram 50mg?

This is the most common prescription dosage for tramadol. Taking an Ultram 50mg pill means that you are taking 50 milligrams of tramadol.

Is tramadol addictive?

Ultram can be addictive if it is abused. Taking more of the drug, taking it more often, or taking it without a prescription can all lead to a physical dependence on tramadol.

Does Ultram have any side effects?

Yes. Even when it is used as prescribed, Ultram can cause several different side effects. From dizziness to a sore throat, these side effects are usually not dangerous. However, the Ultram side effects can become more severe.

Is tramadol a Percocet?

No, tramadol is not the same thing as a Percocet. While both Percocet and Ultram are painkillers, Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Percocet is much stronger than Ultram.

Does tramadol show up as an opioid in a urine test?

The short answer is yes. Ultram is an opioid. It will show up on a specific test for prescription drugs – but not a standard drug test that you face with a new employer.

What is Ultram addiction?

Ultram addiction forms when tramadol is abused. Addiction to tramadol means that the body has become dependent on the effects of the drug and has begun to experience withdrawal symptoms.

The Potential of Ultram Abuse & Addiction

While the answer to “Is tramadol a Percocet?” may be no, this does not mean that Ultram cannot be abused or prove addictive.

Ultram is not as strong as other opioid drugs and was generally thought not to be addictive. However, in recent years more and more people have begun abusing the drug.

Abuse of tramadol can take several different forms – none of which make tramadol safe. The most extreme form is to crush up the pills and snort them. However, even taking the prescription drug orally can be considered abuse if more than 400mg is taken each day.

“It is possible to develop a tolerance to either drug, especially if you don’t take it exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Building a tolerance to a drug means that the same dosage no longer achieves the same effect. People who develop a tolerance often take more of the drug than recommended to get the same feeling. Tolerance can often lead to dependence.”

~ Dr. Darren Hein

Developing physical dependence on Ultram after abusing it over the course of weeks, months or years is a good sign that addiction is present. Because of this, tramadol should only ever be used exactly as prescribed by a doctor.

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Getting Treatment for Tramadol Abuse

Addiction to tramadol is becoming increasingly common, but treatment for this addiction is entirely possible. Professional services, like an intensive outpatient treatment program, can help those struggling with addiction pull themselves back up.

“It is recommended for tramadol abusers to admit themselves into a tramadol addiction rehab program for the best chances of long-term success.”

~ The Fix

Anonymous support groups, like Pills Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, can also help those who find themselves snorting Ultram find the encouraging and consistent community that they need to recover.

For individuals who are addicted to multiple substances, including tramadol, an inpatient treatment facility may be the best bet. Either way, it is important to know that you do not have to continue in your addiction – you can get the help that you need. You are not alone.

If you still have questions about Ultram or want to set up a treatment consultation, feel free to contact us today.


Darren Hein. (2017, April). Tramadol vs. Hydrocodone. Retrieved from: http://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/tramadol-vs-hydrocodone#overview1

SAMHSA. (2015, May). Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Reactions Involving the Pain Medication Tramadol. Retrieved from: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_1965/ShortReport-1965.pdf

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Tramadol. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695011.html#why

2020-01-30T16:48:30+00:00May 5th, 2019|2 Comments


  1. JM May 27, 2019 at 9:47 am - Reply

    This article is very informative.. Taking Tramadol as recommended by your doctor is of great help in relieving pain.

    • Evergreen Staff June 3, 2019 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Glad the article resonated with you!

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