Tramadol can be identified in the body using the following tests:
- Urine, which can detect use within two hours of use and up to 40 hours.
- Hair follicles, which can detect use for up to 90 days, possibly longer.*
- Saliva and blood, both of which can detect use for 24 hours.
*Duration is approximate. One study found tramadol in a person’s system after seven months.
The process of tramadol elimination begins in the liver, and it has a half-life of 5-6 hours. One metabolite created during this process has a longer half-life of 8 hours. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for a person’s system to clear half of the consumed substance.
Individual factors can affect how long tramadol and its metabolites remain in the system, including the following:
- Metabolic rate
- Hydration levels
- Amount used
- Duration of use
How Is Tramadol Used?
Like other opioids, tramadol works by attaching to and activating opioid receptors in the brain and body. When tramadol binds to certain receptors, a person’s perception of pain is altered, and, as a result, the person experiences pain relief.
Tramadol is also a monoamine reuptake inhibitor, which means that it increases the availability of chemicals in the body that induce feelings of well-being, such as serotonin. This effect is thought to contribute to its effectiveness as a pain reliever.
The effects of immediate-release tramadol will be experienced for about 4–6 hours. Extended-release tramadol can produce effects that last for about 12-24 hours.
Is Tramadol Misused?
When used as prescribed, tramadol is a relatively safe and effective medication that can help people who experience pain. Abuse of this drug, however, increases the risk of dependence and addiction.
The non-medical use or abuse of tramadol is hazardous and can result in an overdose. Abuse includes using tramadol more often, in higher doses, or for longer than directed. It also includes tampering with tramadol, such as crushing pills and snorting the residue.
Tramadol may also be a product of drug diversion. Moreover, a person may receive the drug from friends or relatives and use it without a prescription. It may also be purchased on the black market.
The Food and Drug Administration includes a warning label on tramadol packaging. It states that it has a potential for abuse and that use of this medication can lead to physical and psychological dependence. There is a higher risk of this occurring for those who have a history of substance abuse.
One of the most dangerous risks of abuse is an overdose, which can be lethal. Symptoms of a tramadol overdose include the following:
- Constricted pupils
- Uncontrollable vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Slow heart rate
- Cardiac arrest
- Profoundly depressed breathing
- Cold and clammy skin
- Bluish tinted skin
- Severe drowsiness
The risk of a lethal overdose is increased if tramadol is used in combination with other depressant substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other opioids. An overdose is a medical emergency. If you witness signs of an overdose in someone, call 911 immediately.
Withdrawal symptoms will onset after about 12 hours after last use. These will peak in intensity within 1-3 days after the last use then recede by approximately one week.
Withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
- Pupil dilation
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Muscle pain
Medical detox may be beneficial for those with a tramadol dependence. In a supervised environment, the person undergoing withdrawal is monitored for potential health complications and can receive emotional support. Medication-assisted treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as the administration of Suboxone, may be provided as well.
Getting Help for Tramadol Addiction
Fortunately, there are many treatment programs available to help those in need to navigate through the addiction recovery process. Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized rehab facility that offers treatment in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats.
Treatment is hallmarked by psychotherapy, counseling, and group support, and it may also include medication-assisted treatment. We also offer substance abuse education, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning, among other services.
Co-occurring conditions, such as mental illness or chronic pain, can also be addressed in a rehab program. This integrated treatment is essential to reduce the likelihood of relapse and improves the overall physical and mental well-being of those in recovery.
Our team of caring addiction specialists is committed to ensuring that each client receives all of the tools they need to fully recover from addiction. We believe that every person deserves a chance to be happy, regardless of their past mistakes.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to Tramadol, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today!