Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking tramadol and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take tramadol by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain relief. You may take tramadol with or without food.
If you have nausea, it may help to take tramadol with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).
Dosage of tramadol
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start tramadol at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. The maximum recommended dose is 400 milligrams per day.
If you are older than 75 years, the maximum dose is 300 milligrams per day. Do not increase your dose, take tramadol more frequently, or take tramadol for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop tramadol when so directed.
Pain medications work best if they are use as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, tramadol may not work as well.
If you have ongoing pain (such as due to arthritis), your doctor may direct you to also take long-acting opioid medications.
In that case, tramadol might be use for sudden (breakthrough) pain only as needed. Other pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using tramadol safely with other drugs.
Suddenly stopping tramadol may cause withdrawal, especially if you are using it for a long time or in high doses.
To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, mental/mood changes (including anxiety, trouble sleeping, thoughts of suicide), watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, muscle aches, or sudden changes in behavior.
When tramadol is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if tramadol stops working well.
Though it helps many people, tramadol may sometimes cause addiction.
This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take tramadol exactly as prescribe to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.