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Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

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Old 04-13-2005, 08:59 PM   #1
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Emmabean HB User
Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

Hello! I am looking for support in my endeavor to wean off Tramadol. I am almost 3 months pregnant for the first time. I suffer from fibromyalgia, which developed following a spinal surgery in 1999. I began taking drugs to cope about 3 years ago when the fibromyalgia got out of hand and massage/exercise no longer helped. I have been able to wean off a regimen of Lexapro, Naprosyn, and Flexeril (used to help me sleep). Without the Tramadol, I feel extremely achy all over, fatigued, and experience sharp muscular and joint pains. I am unable to accomplish daily housework. Even my favorite hobbies (such as shopping, scrapbooking, gardening) are too taxing on me. I知 so tired but do not get restful sleep. I have taken time off work after being an elementary teacher for 6 years. I知 very discouraged by my inability to get off Tramadol, and I知 suffering from anxiety and depression since my seratonin levels have changed after weaning off my entire drug supply. My rheumotologist and OB have given me permission to stay on 25 mg for a while longer. It does very little for my pain. I really need either a higher dose or to supplement with something, which of course I'm reluctant to do. Every doctor has consistently assured me that Tramadol is completely SAFE and non-addictive. I do feel addicted though. Before my wedding I didn稚 have time to fill my prescription, and on my honeymoon I cried and moaned until I could get to a pharmacy. I feel sick (flu-like) without it. About 30 minutes after I pop a 50 mg pill, I知 perfectly fine.

I would function much better and feel less depressed if I could take 50 mg twice a day, but I feel so guilty since I知 in my first trimester.
My biggest struggle right now is maintaining hope that I can get through the next 6 months of pregnancy. Being off my regular dose of Tramadol is affecting my feeling of well-being so much that it痴 even taking a toll on my marriage. My husband does try to help, but he痴 frustrated that I知 not myself and I can hardly do anything. I am planning to receive massage and water therapy, and I use heating pads, but as I知 sure many of you are aware, those things only help temporarily and do not take away that flu-like feeling and low energy. We are also seeking counseling both for me individually and as a couple to deal with all of these changes and the pain issues.
Have there been any more experiences of women having healthy pregnancies with Tramadol? Have any of those babies had any developmental delays? Were they normal birth weight? Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

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Old 04-15-2005, 08:31 AM   #2
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Re: Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)


Tramadol has an interesting "side effect" that is similar to anti-depressive medications like prozac and zoloft. So, you may also be getting some benefit in that regard, in addition to the pain relief. I've not taken Tramadol long term, but for short term and I can tell you that I noticed instantly that I felt that my mood was "elevated." It didn't really do much for my pain -- frankly, it made me vomit after I first took it because it made me very dizzy. After that, though, I could handle it.

Maybe there is a safe anti-depressant (during pregnancy) that can fill in the hole that lower doses of Tramadol is leaving. Just a thought. Hang in there!


Old 04-15-2005, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

Thank you so much for your encouragement. That is one of the biggest things I can use right now. It feels better just to know that someone can relate to all of the pain.

I'm trying to make a decision about medications I don't know very much about. The doctors have been having me steer these issues myself because no drugs are safe in pregnancy. So I have spoken to my OB about the possibility of staying on Lexapro, an antidepressant. She would rather have me stay on the one I was taking before pregnancy than introduce a new, better researched antidepressant to my system and to the baby. But I have avoided that since they wanted me off everything. I am hoping to decide whether to go back on a mild dose of Lexapro or stay on the small dose of Tramadol for pain and relief of depression.

I'm praying to just get off everything and deal with the pain! But ugh! it's so, so hard!

The good news is I've been teaching every day at local school and even though the pain is miserable, it gets my mind off of it. I'm finding the balance between pushing myself to keep going and giving my body rest.

Thanks again for the words of encouragement. They mean so much!

Old 04-15-2005, 09:19 PM   #4
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twisten HB User
Re: Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

Hi Emmabean and welcome to the boards. I hope you find this as good a site as I have and decide to stick around.
I feel for you expecting a baby and dealing with chronic pain issues. Pregnancy alone can sometimes be overwhelming. As for the tramadol is that not one of the drugs that they started saying wasn't addictive and then in studies done later found out it is as addicting as narcotics? Maybe I'm mixing it up with another drug.
I don't have much to offer other than to wish you well and tell you to hang in there. Congrats on being able to teach some again as well. Just make sure you don't overdue it and push your hurting body too far.
Crohn's disease, scoliosis, chronic myofascial pain, migraines, Osteoporosis, Trigeminal Neuralgia.

Old 04-17-2005, 10:28 AM   #5
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Re: Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

Hi Emmabean and welcome! First, congrats on your pregnancy. My back pain (plus what I expect Fibro) started after I had my 2 kids (6 and 3), however, my depression didn't. With my second pregnancy, I stayed on Celexa (which, really, isn't much different than Lexapro) the whole time. Doctor's often say it's better to take antidepressants during pregnancy, then be depressed the whole time. That's not good for the baby either.

As far as the Ultram, that's a tough one. I do take that for BT pain from Norco and I haven't tried to get off it, but I can imagine it's no different than other painkillers. You know your body is dependant if you are feeling that bad and when you finally take one, you are feeling back to normal. I know it's hard, too, because Ibuprofen is a no-no during pregnancy, too. I think this is part of the reason I haven't tried for a third, I can't imagine the nightmare of getting off all these drugs I take (pain, depression, anxiety), plus the effects of not having them.

Keep in mind, too, that pregnancy is just exhausting and can be painful. That's when my lower back pain started flaring up was when I was pregnant with my first. Back then, I didn't even know I had back trouble, but just knew my lower back hurt all the time, then I had back labor (with both my deliveries) and it just worsened.

I've never heard anything, but do have they said anything about other painkillers being ok during pregnancy? Like small amounts of Vicoden or something similar?

Take care, I hope all goes well, and good luck with the counseling. CP takes a huge toll on family/marriage life. I know it has in mine, even with my husband being one of the most patient men in the world. And it breaks my heart when my kids say, "Is your back hurting today mommy?" I don't want them to remember me like this.

I probably didn't help much, but just wanted to let you know I hope all works out!

Old 04-18-2005, 06:59 PM   #6
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Re: Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

Well, thanks all, for sharing what you know. The last few days I have been doing much better because our weather has become nice and warm, which helps my muscles and joints. I have been able to solicit help from my husband around the house (he figured out that I was desperate), and things have been going much better in that arena. I seem to have a bit more energy.

I am reassured to hear your story, NaeNae, because it makes me feel less guilty for taking this medication that I need. Did your child go through any withdrawl? Did she cry a lot or was she jittery?

My OB would not like me to introduce any new pain meds to my body. I'm pretty sure Vicodin is considered more risky than Tramadol. They just keep saying that the only safe treatment for pain is Tylenol. So if I have to stay on something, they want me to stick with the one that my body has already been adjusted to and they know works for me.

Again, thanks for the encouragement!

Old 07-05-2005, 09:58 PM   #7
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erfan HB User
Re: Pregnant: Weaning off Tramadol(Ultram)

One point I want to bring up is that you are NOT addicted. You are dependent and there IS a difference. Addicts will do whatever they have to to obtain the drug. Chronic Pain patients, like us, get dependent which means that if the drug is stopped, we do get withdrawal symptoms.

Addicts will find that their life gets worse with the drugs. Chronic Pain patients find that their life improves with the use of the drug.

You are NOT addicted. You are dependent.

As far as Ultram is concerned, I was given it years ago when it first came out and was told it was a non-addicting med. It didn't help ( I have 4 levle of disc herniation, Spinal Stenosis and Spinal Sclerosis) so I currently take 50mc Duragesic Patch and 30mg Oxycodone QID.

Good Luck and please remember the difference between addiction and dependence.

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