There are many variations of tramadol used for pain. However, the efficacy of all of them depends on their main ingredient Tramadol, a centrally acting analgesic. It may be used for the relief of moderate to severe pain. Additionally, it provides relief by working in the brain to change the body’s perception and reaction to pain.

How Does Tramadol Work?

Tramadol contains codeine, which binds to mu opiate receptors to inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. It works quickly, with the effects beginning within an hour after taking the dose and having the most effect in about two hours. The metabolization of the drug occurs inside our liver.

Tramadol is equally as effective as meperidine, codeine, or morphine for treating moderate postoperative pain, labor pain, acute dental pain, and other types of chronic pain. It is less effective than other medications for severe acute pain, ureteral calculi, and certain severe or refractory pain from cancer. (1)

How Is Tramadol Used For Pain?

  • Adults and children above 12 years of age (children under 12 should not use this medication):
  • Acute pain: 1-2 capsules 3-4 times daily
  • Chronic pain: 1-2 capsules at first and then 1-2 capsules every 4-6 hours depending on pain severity
  • Elderly: 1-2 capsules every 9 hours
  • Patients experiencing liver or kidney problems: 1-2 capsules every 12 hours (3)

Things To Remember When Taking Tramadol

Do not take Tramadol HCL if you are:

  • Allergic to Tramadol HCL
  • Pregnant or planning to be (2)
  • Recently had alcohol, sleeping tablets, or other strong painkillers.

More information to know before taking Tramadol HCL include:

  • Let your doctor know about other medications you are taking as there may be possible drug interactions.
  • Do not consume alcohol while using this medication.
  • Pain medications work best if taken as the first signs of pain occur, rather than waiting for the pain to worsen.
  • Taking painkillers for headaches too often or long can make the pain worse.

Some Common Effects Of The Drug

Tell your doctor if you experience side effects including but not limited to the following common and rare side effects. Common side effects include dizziness, feeling sick, sweating, drowsiness, body aches, and constipation. Uncommon side effects include itchiness, irregular heartbeat, dizziness on standing, and retching. (4)

Rare side effects may happen if Tramadol is used for pain, these include a sense of euphoria, dysphoria, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, sleeping problems, anxiety, and slow heart beat.

Warnings When Taking Tramadol

Ensure you are not drowsy or dizzy and that your vision is clear before attempting to operate machinery or drive while on this medication. Doing otherwise may result in bodily injuries to you or others around you.

You may become dependent on tablets and experience withdrawal if you stop taking them suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, watery eyes, nausea, and muscle aches. Tell your doctor if pain remains or worsens or if the medication stops working as well.


Tramadol HCL is a viable pain killer for a broad range of situations. On the other hand, Tramadol HCL may be more or less effective than other medications depending on the location and severity of pain. Nevertheless, it is effective in treating the pain so long as warnings and precautions are in mind. Keep in mind to take the correct dosage and be attentive of side effects.


Lewis, K., & Han, N. (1997). Tramadol: a new centrally acting analgesic. American Journal of Health System Pharmacy.

Tramadol. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from

Tramadol hydrochloride 50mg capsules. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from