Friday, October 14, 2011

New Warnings on Tramadol (Ultram)

The manufacturer and the FDA are requiring new warnings in the prescribing information for Tramadol (Ultram) - - “avoid in patients prone to addiction.”

Ultram came out as a new non-addictive medicine for pain control. The FDA even allowed it to be released as an uncontrolled drug for pain. Since then it has become very widely prescribed. Many physicians and patients believe that it is quite safe and non- addictive. I still hear physicians tell their patients it is not addictive.

But it works in the same part of the brain as Heroin, so most of us in the Chemical Dependency field were pretty suspicious. And sure enough, over the years, we have seen a lot of patients who have become addicted to it. In fact I find it is usually harder to get patients off Ultram than it is to get them off Heroin. The withdrawal seems to be more intense and often patients get quite confused and don’t know what is happening to them.

Our Accelerated Detox method works well for Ultram. We slow the process down a little and take a little more time so the patients are comfortable. But we should never underestimate just how addictive Ultram can be.

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