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Ultram (Tramadol) ?

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Old 09-12-2004, 06:52 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 313
Ellnyc HB User
Question Ultram (Tramadol) Addicting???

Hi Everyone!
This is my first post here, but felt it would be a safe place to ask about others experience with this pain med. It was first given to me approx. 3 years ago after I completed the third of 3 major surgeries I underwent in 2001.
It was prescribed by the pm team as an alternative to percocet which I was taking on-off while recovering from these surgeries, to avoid re-addiction to percocet. (by my request) Anyway, Further surgery was required in 2003 when I was dx with breast cancer and once again after the initial few weeks on Percocet, I again went back on Tramadol for moderate/low level chronic pain which btw been prescribed by my oncologist who says to take it as needed. Currently, I am experiencing arm pain/numbness and once again the Ultram is helping. I do feel more able to get things done when I'm not focusing on the pain, low level as it may be. Because I do have a "history" of opiate abuse and have been clean for 16 years (taking meds very soberly when precribed post surgically, etc.) Currently I take 1 (very rarely 2) Ultram a day, but my concern/question is about the addictive properties of this medication. I know it is not an actual opiate, just acts like one by "foofing" the brain into thinking it is by filling in the receptors, etc., but I'm just not clear. Does anyone know? Is this a safe medication for someone in recovery to be taking? I'd so appreciate any info/ life experiences regarding this medication.
Thanks for reading and replying if you can.
Just being careful, El

Last edited by Ellnyc; 09-12-2004 at 07:51 AM.

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Old 09-12-2004, 09:34 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1
everest2004 HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

By coming to this website, I think you know the answer. I came off a serious pain med addiction and wound up in the same situation with Ultram. The physical dependancy is not as strong, but the mental dependancy/addiction works in the same manner. You won't go through the worst of the physical withdrawl symptoms like with opiates, but you will experience some physical symptoms after prolonged use, but the mental aspect is the tough one, as you already know yourself, from your 16 years.
Out of curiosity what was your addiction to 16 years ago and what method did you use to stay clean for so long?

Old 09-12-2004, 10:20 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 313
Ellnyc HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

Thanks for your reply Everest. Indeed, if I am posting here I already have a pretty good idea of the phycological pull this med is having. Did you personally become mentally addicted to it? What was it like if (when) you stopped it?
Before i found recovery (or recovery found me?) I had been addicted to several different substances, including alcohol, opiates, tranquilizers, etc ... at different periods of my life spanning over 23 years. They all led me to the hopelessness of addiction. 16 years ago, i went to rehab for the physical withdrawal of xanax and have been an active member of a 12 step program ever since. For me AA works the best, but I am have been a little reluctant to "share" about my using this medication on a fairly regular basis now.
Take care and thanks again.

Old 09-12-2004, 10:29 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 1,048
Twinlynn HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

Ellnyc -

Welcome to the Board! (You're from The Big Apple? So am I!)

First of all, congratulations on 16 years "clean"! Wow! But....I am so sorry to hear about all those surgeries you've had--and the breast cancer. I do hope you are recovering well.(A friend of mine was diagnosed about 8 years ago--and she's doing great!)

Re. Ultram - While I have never been prescribed it, you can find older discussion threads from the ARCHIVES. Lots of posters were caught off guard by doctors who insisted (and continue to insist) that you cannot become "addicted" to Ultram. Of course, I doubt these doctors ever consider the power and strength of "mental" addiction, which is often way more difficult to overcome!

Specifically, there was a post on August 18 (I think that was the most recent) on this issue. You can get to it either by going back screen by screen to the date. Or....go to the bottom of this page, hit "Archives", then "Addiction and Recovery" and when you see the place to enter which page, hit #19...and go to thread #4528. (Actually...these instructions sound pretty long-winded. Maybe someone knows a quicker way to use the Archives! I haven't used them in ages. :-)

At any rate, there have been quite a few discussions--and strong opinions--devoted to Ultram (Tramadol). So, by searching the Archives, you'll get a diverse view.'s nice to meet you! :-)


PS EVEREST2004 - Okay, I've GOT to ask you about your name....since I collect and read antique (and modern) mountaineering books and have an entire bookcase of ' your computer name related to climbing? Or is it, perhaps, more like "getting thru 2004 has been LIKE climbing Everest!" :-)

Old 09-12-2004, 12:07 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 313
Ellnyc HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

Wow Lynn, thank you for the welcome and letting me know about the Archives. I found some great info and heard the experiences of others in the same boat. I guess, I was finally ready to hear what I have suspected and feared even as the doctors were telling me "It is not addicting". As a recovering addict/alcoholic, I guess I should/could have researched this sooner, but I am learning that "beating myself up" does not help and at least now I know the truth about Ultram. I have been through the worst of withdrawals in my life incl. xanax and methadone... it sounds like this one will be do-able too and certainly less intense than those were! Thank G-D! I am glad my dosage has remained small - 50 mg a day. I know I will have to deal with stopping at some point, it is just not something I'm looking forward to, especially since I am in recovery and do not want my sobriety judged by others who have not walked in my shoes.
Thank you again Lynn!

Last edited by Ellnyc; 09-12-2004 at 01:59 PM.

Old 09-13-2004, 07:51 AM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 42
flyfishingdaddy HB User
Thumbs down Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

I started out taking two a day in the morning and one in the afternoon..then is was one in the morning one at lunch and one at dinner then it went to two in the morning two at luch and two at dinner, get the Picture,I was working and i was hurting, the Doc said this stuff was not addictive, so i did not think much about it..for 8 years..i was on this Crap. was up to 8 a day But when i retired..I thought i would feel better..???? not soooooo...what the heck is going on..i kept asking myself..well it was the ultram making me sick...every day, I felt tired all the time,sick,head hurt neck arms Etc...

Anyway AUG...15th i said I'm getting of this drug to see if it was the Fibro, are the drug..this is Sept 13th i have not had one in 15 days now..but let me tell you about the six day's after the 15th of Aug..It was pure hell...after about four day's the WDs lets up some what..But i hurt more than i have ever hurt in my life..flu like systoms burning all over,sweating chills, on and on...i Slept about 7 hours the first four get the Picture..NEVER AGAIN, WILL I TAKE A DRUG THAT MY BE ADDICTIVE..

At this point i feel wonderful i feel like i have got my life back, i wake up feeling refreshed and look foreward to the day...I still get very tired in the afternoon...but that's a good thing for me..

If at all PLEASE don't take this demon pill...GOOD LUCK WHAT EVER YOU DO.

Last edited by flyfishingdaddy; 09-13-2004 at 07:57 AM. Reason: MORE CONTENT

Old 09-13-2004, 10:11 PM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 313
Ellnyc HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me Flyfishingdaddy. I also really believed the doctor who told me it was a safer alternative than narcotics, but it sounds like it can get you in just as much trouble getting off them. (I've done other opiate detoxes, before getting clean 16 years ago.) I had a similar experience when xanax first came out in the early 80's~ not addicting like valium, blah, blah, blah... That one turned out to be worse than any of the tranquilizers, ever! (along with Ativan, I understand.)
By the way, BIG congratulations on your being off the tramadol for 15-16 days! I know the victory you must feel! Keep up the good work! Do you go to any support groups or just here? Also...what (if anything,) do you take for pain now?
My plan for now is to stay on one Ultram per day (forget about taking the occasional second one) then go to 1/2 a day and see how I do. I feel fortunate that my dosage has not increased, it's just that I've been taking them for 3 years on and off, mostly on for a few months now that I have had arm pain.
Once again ...Congratulations!
Thanks again for your reply!

Old 09-14-2004, 12:23 AM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 37
sanking111 HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

Was taking tramadol for lower back pain........Hate to say it, especially if it works well for some). But that was the weakest pain med. i have taken!. I get more relief from ibuprophen!!!!!!. As far as addicting, i cant see how.I took it for 4 mths, no relief/and no withdraws.Thankgod im now been given something better..good luck

Old 09-14-2004, 05:55 AM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 313
Ellnyc HB User
Re: Ultram (Tramadol) ?

Hi sanking111.
Thanks for your reply. Tramadol was one of the mildest drugs I had ever heard of and at first laughed at my dr. when he suggested it, especially since it was for post-op pain! But I was trying to avoid readdiction to narcotic pain meds so I gave it a try. I was truly shocked that it took away my pain! I know it does not work for everyone. That is why it is so un-nerving and shocking in a way to hear about others experience when they come off it! In addition, I also stopped the drug once after a couple of months with no problem, but others and myself have been taking this for years. which sounds likea whole other story.

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