Tramadol Withdrawal and Detox
Tramadol is a somewhat atypical prescription painkiller, with both opioid and monoamine reuptake inhibiting pharmacological properties.1 In the U.S., tramadol is approved for use in managing moderately severe pain and has historically been marketed under a number of brand names, including Ultram and ConZip.1,2
Like other opioid drugs, tramadol has some misuse liability. Additionally, should physiological dependence develop, cutting back or suddenly stopping tramadol use could result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.1 In such instances, medical detox and pharmacological withdrawal management can help those seeking to recover from an opioid use disorder (OUD) involving tramadol or other prescription painkillers.
Tramadol Misuse and Addiction
Like other prescription painkillers including hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, tramadol is an opioid drug, and it has a risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction, alongside other potential adverse effects of use. Adverse effects of tramadol use include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.1,3 As an opioid, one of the most serious side effects of tramadol use is respiratory depression which, when severe, can be fatal.3
In addition to these adverse effects, tramadol misuse can lead to the development of significant physical dependence and an associated withdrawal syndrome, should tramadol use abruptly slow or altogether stop.1
Tramadol Withdrawal and Withdrawal Symptoms
With continued tramadol use or misuse, people adapt to the persistent presence of the drug in their systems—ultimately becoming physically dependent on the opioid.4,5 When a person that is physically dependent on the substance drastically decreases or abruptly stops use, an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome may occur.1,4,5
Consistent with other, more typical types of opioid withdrawal syndromes, tramadol withdrawal symptoms may include restlessness and flu-like symptoms such as:1,8
- Runny nose.
- Watering eyes.
- Muscle aches/pains.
Less common withdrawal symptoms may include:1
- Extreme anxiety.
- Panic attacks.
Dangers of Tramadol Withdrawal
People experiencing withdrawal from tramadol may experience withdrawal effects quite similar to those associated with other types of opioid withdrawal. Tramadol withdrawal is often marked by flu-like symptoms and strong cravings for more tramadol.1
While opioid withdrawal symptoms usually are not life threatening, they may be uncomfortable. Because of the potentially uncomfortable nature of the withdrawal, it is not uncommon for those attempting to stop using to abandon their efforts in an attempt to stop the discomfort. Avoidance of withdrawal is, in fact, a major perpetuator of continued use.5,7,8
Often utilized at the start of treatment for opioid use disorder, medical detoxification involves a group of strategies to help manage withdrawal. The primary goal of detox is to minimize the harm caused by the substance. It is accomplished through:5
- Evaluation. In this stage, medical, psychological, and social factors are evaluated to determine the best course of action.
- Stabilization. During this stage, the individual will receive medical supervision and psychological support to achieve a drug-free state.
- Encouraging further treatment. Because detox is not a complete treatment for substance abuse, further treatment is recommended for sustained recovery.
What helps with withdrawal from tramadol? As an individual goes through withdrawal, there may be medications prescribed—including opioid agonists such as buprenorphine and alpha-adrenergic agonists such as clonidine or lofexidine—that may help ease the withdrawal symptoms and pain they may experience.7
Tramadol detox can take place in various settings, from inpatient hospitalization to regular outpatient appointments. The appropriate setting will depend on factors like the individual’s level of dependence, how much support the recovering user has, living conditions, etc.
What Happens After Detox?
A focus of detox will often be to connect the person to follow-up treatment to maintain abstinence. Like detox, continuing treatment can occur in an inpatient, residential, or outpatient setting, and may include support through groups like Narcotics Anonymous.
There are also medications that can be used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat an OUD as well as help people maintain their recovery. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can be prescribed to help individuals with opioid withdrawal management and for the treatment of OUD so that they can stay sober.9
American Addiction Centers (AAC) maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies.
If you need help quitting tramadol, don’t wait. Treatment programs are available to help you end your use for good. Call to learn more.
Finding Tramadol Detox Treatment
Once you decide to pursue detox for tramadol, it can feel overwhelming trying to find the right tramadol withdrawal treatment program. AAC has a directories tool that can help you find tramadol rehabs near you. This tool can guide you as you look for a facility that will meet all your needs. You can also reach out to one of our admissions navigators at , and they can provide information, guidance, and support as you begin your journey toward recovery.