30 Apr 2008
A detox approach for Tramadol (Ultram and Ultracet). Ok, so you've discovered that tramadol is HIGHLY addictive (at least for you, personally). I am recently coming cold turkey off a 150-200 mg per day habit, and have made some interesting discoveries that I hope will also help others. Combined with research concerning the psycho-pharmacology, they make sense.
Things to do:
1) Don't panic and/or beat yourself up.
2) Make a DETERMINED EFFORT to break your addiction.
3) If you are taking more than 50 mg (1 tab for me) begin to taper off. For that, find your comfort level. Be persistent here because, as for myself, I missed the feeling of well-being that I got with a higher dose as I began to taper off. This is where you must let your determination kick in. A 50 mg per week reduction seems reasonable. Push the envelope here if you can tolerate a bit more discomfort.
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3) If you are physically able, exercise, exercise, exercise!! This will help boost your mood and help counter the opiate effect of the meds. Sexual activity in the evening was helpful for me as well. At night take some Tylenol or ibuprofen to help you sleep. Expect your sleep to be disrupted for a little while. I accidentally found that Robitussin (dextromethorphan) helped me sleep during the most difficult period, since I happened to have a cold while I was trying to quit. Careful here, though, start out taking half the recommended dose and see how it affects you. The clinical reason is that dextromethorphan will help moderate your serotonin levels, which Tramadol increases.
Warning: if you are taking MAO inhibitors DO NOT take dextromethorphan, as this can be very dangerous.
4) Drink a strong caffinated drink during the day, preferably early in the morning. Why? Tramadol acts to prevent norepinephrine reuptake, and as you taper off, caffeine will help counteract the effects of the reduction of the norepinephrine.
5) Along with your exercise, take care to maintain a good diet to help fortify yourself against reduced or poor sleep.
6) While I did not try it myself, one would expect St John's Wart to offer some relief because of the SSUI effects of Tramadol.
I had to detox because I was running out of pills. The reason Tramadol is so addictive for some is probably due to the fact that you are dealing with 3 separate addictions: opiate, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Another thing: it's probably not a good idea to substitute another addictive drug (though arguably caffeine is) for Tramadol.
If you try this 'method' please give me some feedback about how it works for you. Good luck to all!
PS. BJ has posted at another site:
That sounds like some reasonable advice chess. I would suggest though that since robitussin tends to have other active ingredients besides DXM, most likely the sleep producing effects were actually due to the other drugs in it, such as whichever antihistamine was contained therein. Personally, unless one has a cold, I'd recommend unisom (doxylamine succinate) to help with sleep during withdrawals.
He also adds that it's only the opiate action of tramadol that's addictive. Possibly true, though if tramadol helped with depression, that might well make it more difficult to quit because then you're also taking tramadol for it's anti-depressive action.
Best wishes to all