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Is tramadol a controlled substance?

10 Answers

Official Answer by Drugs.com 9 Feb 2016

Yes, tramadol is clasified by the US DEA as a schedule IV controlled substance. There is an ongoing concern that tramadol (Ultram, Ultram ER, Ultracet, ConZip, Ryzolt, Rybix ODT), a narcotic-like pain reliever, is linked with drug abuse, addiction, and overdose. To address these concerns, in 2014 the DEA placed all forms of tramadol into schedule IV. Prior to this, tramadol was consider less risk and was only a controlled substance in a few states. Now, tramadol prescriptions may only be refilled up to 5 times in a 6 month period after the date the prescription was first written. After 5 refills or 6 months, whichever occurs first, a new prescription is required.

Votes: +2
kaismama 3 Nov 2012

Not federally yet, but it is in 2 states. One is Tenn. I'm not sure of the other one.

Votes: +3
tazc23 3 Nov 2012

Arkansas

kaismama 3 Nov 2012

thanks

Lisa01 4 Nov 2012

It's also a controlled substance in Kentucky.
Lisa

happybrandee 4 Nov 2012

wow!! this is something that I didn't know!! I thought that it was controlled in all the states! thanks for the info guys! I've been learning so many new things in the short time that I've been here! :)

dhamm 6 Oct 2013

now 10 states including ky

tazc23 3 Nov 2012

Tramadol is not a federally controlled substance but some states have made it a Schedule IV. Be very careful though, it is addictive and has some strong withdrawal symptoms. Tramadol is a synthetic opioid, which means it has the structure of narcotics like hydrocodone or oxycodone without the strong euphoric effect.

It can cause euphoria if taken in high doses but high doses causes seizures. Also, please be VERY CAREFUL if you are taking any other anti-depressants like Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, Effexor or other SSRIs. These anti-depressants effect the level of Serotonin in the brain. Too much and it causes "Serotonin Syndrome", which can also cause seizures among other things.

Votes: +7
Delila 4 Nov 2012

Great answer!

Delila 4 Nov 2012

Just wanted to add, that Tramadol isn't a controlled substance in the UK either. Many doctor are still very ignorant about the potential for abuse and addiction. However i am a 'member' of a 'Specialist drug & alcohol service' and Tramadol dependency/addiction is very common. The specialists are wising up about it and the doctor's that have come across it's 'problem's' are now becoming reluctant to prescribe it. I think that soon it may/should be a controlled substance.

kaismama 4 Nov 2012

The problem is that its not always that way. Not everyone becomes dependent on it, and a lot of us take it the way its supposed to be used, yet because people abuse it we should suffer. Right now its the only med alot of docs will prescribe, because its not controlled, and that wll leave us with nothing if it becomes so. Why do the people in pain suffer, will the addicts move on to something else?

happybrandee 4 Nov 2012

I'm a recovering addict Kaismama, but I actually agree with you!! lol I am srry to say that my addiction started with prescription pain killers, percocet, vicodin, and Oxycontin and then moved on to Heroin, but because of ppl who abuse pain killers it does make it harder for those of you who use them as directed, and believe me... I regret that I added to that problem. I've been clean for many years now and I am grateful that I am.

sara12345 4 Nov 2012

Yes, I took it 24/7 for 4 months until nerve block injections took away my severe migraines entirely for 5 days. And I stopped the Tramadol entirely during those 5 days, then as the migraines came back not nearly as badly, I took the Tramadol far less. I NEVER had a single side effect from the abrupt stopping of the Tramadol. Just someone else who didn't suffer from any addiction, but I can't speak for others.

Delila 5 Nov 2012

If doctors monitored their patients sufficiently then the problem wouldn't be as rife. And i agree with Taz, some people suffer mental illness and/or are predisposed to addiction or have a history of it, and shouldn't be prescribed Tramadol in the first place.

kaismama 5 Nov 2012

The doc should know that before he prescribes anything.

Delila 5 Nov 2012

In my case my doctor was and still prescribed it. And when realising the problem continued to prescribe it at 200 capsules a time.

kaismama 5 Nov 2012

My dr will prescribe enough for me for the month, and that's alot of them, because I've gone to her for 10 yrs and she trusts me, but she won't prescribe controlled meds to anyone because she's afraid of the state and DEA. She just doesn't want to invite the hastle. She will tell me to see a pain dr. I used to go to one in Virginia Beach(a 3hr trip one way) but the state took his license. The one here in town is an anesthesiologist who thinks shots help everyone. Forget about any meds.

Delila 5 Nov 2012

Well if your doctor knows you so well and trusts you then they shouldn't be worried about prescribing any med's, whether a controlled substance or not.

electrician7310 11 Jan 2013

i am prescribed tramadol,what kind of side effects will i encounter if i take my other medication(seraquil)?

electrician7310 11 Jan 2013

off from the last comment... i take 400 mlgs of seraquil a night and a 100 in the morning and just wondering if it would be dangerous to take both tramadol and seraquil together?

Delila 20 Sep 2013

Hi, i've only just seen your comment, sorry for the late response... i hope by now you have found that you can take the 2 together quite safely. I take Seroquel, and used to take Tramadol with it. Both medications were prescribed by the same doctor.

NurseGa 17 May 2014

A bill was recently signed by our Gov making Tramadol a schedule IV (controlled) drug in ga

Inactive 4 Nov 2012

Hello toule france. No, its not but it should be. Its fast becoming one of the top recreational drugs. Regards pledge

Votes: +0
sara12345 4 Nov 2012

I didn't know that. How terrible that the illegal users are putting the ones who truly suffer with pain at risk for getting this and other pain killers.

kaismama 4 Nov 2012

I don't know about you Sara, but heartily sick of people who abuse prescription drugs. We pay for that. Then the media vilifies the drug!!!

tazc23 5 Nov 2012

Hello Sara and Kais,

I understand you are frustrated that these drugs are being abused but please be careful in how you address it. Many times, Doctors prescribe these drugs to people with mental illnesses and those that have tendacies to abuse drugs, which shouldn't be done. These people are emotionally unstable and in pain. They may not necessariliy be looking to get high, the may just be using these drugs to help them feel "normal" or "stable" again. Many of them are not just looking for a drug to abuse, they are trying to find a way to make it through life, whether it be going to work, raising a family or just getting out of bed.

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I know because I am one of them. I abused Tramadol for years and was addicted to vicodon, norco and lyrica also. At the age of 32 I began having severe pain due to track injuries which caused me to have to stop exercising. My doctor prescribed me dorvacet and I took it as prescribed for several years. Before this, I NEVER drank or abused drugs. However, one day I was in a seminar and I knew I would be sitting in pain so I took an extra dorvacet along with an energy drink. The feeling I got was euphoric and for the first time in years, I felt emotionally stable and was able to handle everyday life - and I was hooked from then after. I didn't realize at the time that I suffered from Major Depressive Disorder. That door never closed and It took me years to come off those drugs and I still struggle with it today.

I'm sorry if you feel our addictions are taking away the last drug you feel you have left but the fact is that it can be abused and is addictive. Doctors need to take better care in knowing there patients and not prescribing medications like these to those that have mental illnesses. Until that happens, everyone else will continue to suffer.

I tell you my story to get you to understand that it is very easy for some to slip into addiction and to please watch your tone when you address us. I understand you were able to keep your use under control, I applaud you for it. But not all of us are so strong.

Delila 5 Nov 2012

I totally agree

Inactive 5 Nov 2012

Certainly do.

kaismama 5 Nov 2012

It goes both ways, don't you think we're in pain and suffer because we can't get treated.

tazc23 5 Nov 2012

Kais,

The point is, controlled or not, you will be able to get the drug if the doctor prescribes it to you. It is not going to be heavily regulated like a schedule II Percocet, it is just going to be monitored more carefully. I don't see how making it a schedule IV drug makes it harder for your doctor to prescribe it.

Your attitude is very disheartening for those that are reading these forums. They come here for answers not to be condemened.

kaismama 5 Nov 2012

No I won't be, my doc won't prescribe long term controlled drugs. No doctor in this city will, and finding one in the state that would is pretty hard. Virginia has cracked down harder then other states on docs. All we have left in pain management is anesthesiologist who just give shots that don't help. If it becomes controlled I have no pain management whatsoever. And why is that, because people abused this med that if taken as ordered doesn't cause a high. The minute it becomes controlled I am cut off. Now do you see why abusers tick me off.

tazc23 5 Nov 2012

Kais,

I am sorry you are having issues. I still think that you are missing the point and directing your anger in the wrong way but I understand that you just want to feel better.

I don't understand how the doctors there wouldn't prescribe the drug long-term because the warning as I understand it means that the drug shouldn't be given to people with mental illnesses or abusive tendacies. However, at least in South Carolina, the drug will still be given as a long-term substitute for strong opioids to those without that history.

It is not the fact that people abuse the drug that makes it a controllable substance, it is the fact that the drug has qualities that will allow it to be abused. Regardless of how you feel about us, recovering addicts need to know these things before we take them.

Inactive 5 Nov 2012

I understand but its old news. It happened years ago when the benzodizepine family was limited to say five drugs or so. Valium was then the number one abused as well as perscribed benzodiazepine of the 60's late 50's. (I did not bother to see when it first arrived on the market, its an oldie/goldie) I'm in my 70's now and was on it back in 1965 or so. Give or take a year.

Delila 5 Nov 2012

Tazc, you made a very good point. It is the drugs qualities that allow it to be abused. If it didn't help you feel good it wouldn't get abused and so many people don't even know how the medication works! Including doctors! I feel bad for people that are affected by 'drug' abusers, but myself, i have had a Tramadol addiction but have never abused any other medication and i've been prescribed a LOT in my life. So why is it just this one? Doctors need to be more responsible about what they prescribe to who, and ask more questions.

kaismama 5 Nov 2012

When I first heard they wanted to control it, I asked my dr about it, because I never felt anything from it that would make me want to take more then I needed for pain. She said people abused it and I was shocked. In this city I have already been treated like a drug seeker, because I take tramadol. I can't imagine what I'd go through if it was controlled, and I could get it. I actually had a pharmacist refuse to refill a prescription and made me wait 3 days, because I took it as the doctor prescribed. I wasn't supposed to do that in her mind. I got a 10 minute lecture on addiction in front of about 15 people in line, and in her mind that was ok, because I was just a drug seeker. So don't even try to make me feel any different. I have my reasons and my own feelings and pain.

sara12345 6 Nov 2012

To Tazc23, Appreciated your honesty and apology earlier. And you are learning more about the extreme consequences. Don't feel disheartened by the truth. It's just a fact. And again, thanks for your apology.
Sara

sara12345 6 Nov 2012

Oh, I guess that you didn't apologize, just trying to explain. Appreciate that much. Good luck with your depression.

Inactive 6 Nov 2012

Have a great day folks :-0)

rosenhercats 30 Jan 2013

kaismama--many people become addicted to tramadol even when they take it as prescribed. That is a fact. People think that only drug abusers get addicted, but that's not true. My grandma has a prescription, and she's supposed to take it 1 pill 3 times a day for pain.That's enough to build a tolerance and get dependent on those pills everyday. And you know why doctors don't want to prescribe it for long-term usage? Because you will most likely become addicted that way. When the body is on that medication for a long time, it doesn't matter if you are taking it accordingly. Everyone is different though. Some people become dependent on a small amount everyday, and some don't. It's not always a matter of "abusing."

LynnNoE 1 Aug 2013

Tramadol is not a federally controlled drug, however the following U.S. states have elected to make tramadol a schedule IV controlled drug: Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma and the U.S. military, with other states considering similar actions.

Votes: +2
dhamm 6 Oct 2013

I dont belive ohio is on that list I have trouble filling my script in ky and in ohio they have no probs will even fill 5 days early.

evemarr 28 Aug 2014

add WA state to the list

Inactive 2 Aug 2013

So ironic. I just had appt with pain doc this morning and had to have a urine test. They tell me they are checking my Morphine, Fentanyl, Gabapentin, and Xanax levels. They were marked in a certain section of the test paper I had to sign. I noticed that Tramadol IS listed on another part of the form, so, some docs are checking for it.

Votes: +2
Kobaltblur 20 Sep 2013

Tramadol is a very low narcotic and in minnesota most people wouldnt take it if it was otc. Fact is lortabs or oxy is the prefered pain med here

Votes: +1
MDdrugs 20 Apr 2014

Tramadol or Ultram is considered a schedule IV drug in 10 states. It can be abused in high doses. I'm sure more states will follow in making tramadol a controlled substance.

Votes: +0
knbumgardner 23 Jul 2014

As of August 18, 2014, tramadol will be a Schedule IV Controlled drug.

Votes: +0
fotoflood 10 Sep 2018

Thanks for the official answer. I have been taking tramadol but it does not seem to do anything. Does anyone have any answer to that?
Thanks everyone !

Votes: +0
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