What Are The Differences Between Tramadol And Hydrocodone?

What Is Tramadol?

Tramadol, as some of you may know, is a part of the opiate family. This medication is typically prescribed as an analgesic; which is a type of drug known for relieving pain.

Tramadol is considered to be an analgesic due to its properties of being less addictive and having a better safety profile when compared to other opiates in the family. However, like any other medication, it has its negative aspects.

The potentially dangerous side effects that occur with this particular drug are seizures and serotonin syndrome. In light of the fact that these symptoms exist, they do not happen unless you are partaking in Tramadol monotherapy, misusing this medication, or are taking other medications such as antidepressants. (1)

What Are The Side Effects Of Tramadol?

A few of the most common side effects that this medication has are as follows in the list below.

  • Feeling agitated
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling warm
  • Feeling cold
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of concentration

This medication has other more severe side effects, but they are incredibly less common and rare.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Like its cousin, Hydrocodone is also an opiate. Like Tramadol, it is used to treat various levels of pain. It is derived from the opium alkaloid codeine which is found in opium poppy.

Unlike its cousin, however, it is more likely to become addictive. Hydrocodone has the potential of being habit-forming, even at the regular dosage. It also has the potential to cause permanent withdrawal in infants if taken during pregnancy.

As stated, at the beginning of this article, all medications have side effects, and this one is not an exception. One of the common side effects it shares with its cousin, however, is serotonin withdrawal. The other symptoms may be a lot more problematic. (3)

What Are The Side Effects Of Hydrocodone?

There are a handful of side effects that are necessary to look for. You may want to stop taking this medication if you experience any of these below symptoms:

  • Breathing problems
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Feeling confused
  • Tremors
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Light headedness
  • Missed menstrual cycles
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness

A Peek Into Serotonin Syndrome

For those that are not familiar with this syndrome, it occurs when you take medication that has high levels of serotonin which build up in your body. This commonly happens when you increase the dosage of a drug or introduce a new medication into your drug regime.

If you are unfamiliar with what serotonin does, it is needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. If you have too much serotonin in your body, that can produce adverse effects on your body as well. In fact, sometimes serotonin syndrome can be fatal if it isn’t treated by a doctor.

But, if it is a mild case then there is the possibility that it will clear up within a few days of ceasing the intake of the medication causing it. Tramadol and Hydrocodone have many similar properties such as being from the opioid family. However, in choosing which drug to use, it is essential that seek the advised of trained medical professionals. (2)


Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2009, April). Tramadol: Seizures, Serotonin Syndrome, and Coadministered Antidepressants. Retrieved July 30, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714818/

Hydrocodone: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/hydrocodone.html

Tramadol Side Effects in Detail. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/sfx/tramadol-side-effects.html