Yes and no. It depends on ones definition of a "narcotic" really. It is not a product of the poppy plant, either naturally derived or a synthetically made alkaloid, but it does act on the opioid receptors in the brain. Most describe tramadol as "opioid-like" because although it is not a true opioid (not being a product of the poppy plant or any of those alkaloids), it does act on those receptors and carries the same addictive properties of opioids and can have the same kinds of withdrawal effects. Tramadol used to not be a controlled substance but in the past few years it has gone on the controlled substances lists in many states (if not all of them now).
Tramadol also acts on the brain in the same way many antidepressants do so it also carries some of those withdrawal effects too so it can be a "double whammy" when one takes them long term then suddenly stops. This is not to say that Tramadol cannot be safely used, and it is a good medicine to help relieve pain when taken properly. One just has to be careful, like any other pain reliever, not to abuse or overuse it.
- Tramadol Information for Consumers
- Tramadol Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Tramadol (detailed)
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