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Does tramadol make you sleepy?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 12, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Yes, tramadol can make you sleepy, drowsy, dizzy or lightheaded. These are some of the most common side effects of using this opioid (narcotic) pain medication. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery or participate in any activities that may cause injury until you know how this drug affects you.

In studies looking at side effects of immediate-release tramadol (Ultram) up to 90 days after starting treatment, drowsiness (somnolence) was reported in 16% to 25% of patients. Your experience with tramadol may be different.

Take your dose of tramadol exactly as your doctor or other healthcare provider prescribed it. Do not change your dose. Your healthcare provider should prescribe the lowest dose possible for the shortest time needed. If your prescribed dose is not controlling your pain, call your doctor.

Tramadol may cause many other side effects. View these side effects in more detail here.

Can I drink alcohol with tramadol?

No, do not drink alcohol or take any medicines that contain alcohol while using tramadol as you may overdose or die.

  • The risk of a fatal overdose is also increased when tramadol is used with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as other opioids, benzodiazepines, or street drugs.
  • Extreme sedation, respiratory depression (slowed or stopped breathing), coma and death can occur.
  • Other CNS depressants also include: non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, and antipsychotics.
  • If you are not sure if you are taking a CNS depressant, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking tramadol. This is not a full list of all CNS depressants.

Certain drug interactions can affect how tramadol is broken down in the body. This may increase the level of drowsiness you experience with tramadol. It is important you have your doctor or pharmacist check for drug interactions each time you start or stop taking a medicine. Tell them about all of the medicines you use, including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal and dietary supplements.

View tramadol drug interactions (in more detail)

Can I become addicted to tramadol?

Yes, tramadol has been found to be linked with drug abuse, addiction, and overdose. Even if you take your dose correctly as prescribed you are at risk for opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse that can lead to death.

Tramadol is a strong prescription pain medicine. It contains an opioid (narcotic) that is used for the management of pain when other pain treatments such as non-opioid pain medicines do not treat your pain well enough or you cannot tolerate them.

To address these concerns, the DEA placed all forms of tramadol into Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), meaning it does have potential for abuse. This limits the number of prescription refills you can have over a certain period of time.

How does tramadol come at the pharmacy?

Tramadol comes as a prescription tablet, extended-release capsule, and oral solution. Some forms are available as a generic option, which may be more affordable for you. In the U.S., brand name products include:

Learn More: Tramadol: 9 Things You Should Know

Bottom Line

  • Tramadol can make you sleepy, and this is one of its most common side effects, affecting 16% to 25% of patients in studies. Tramadol can also make you dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or participate in dangerous activities until you know how this drug affects you.
  • Do not change your dose of tramadol without speaking to your doctor first. It may affect your breathing and cause you to overdose or die.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take other central nervous system depressants with tramadol, which may also cause an overdose, respiratory depression (slowed or stopped breathing) and death.

This is not all the information you need to know about tramadol for safe and effective use. Review the full tramadol information here, and discuss this information and any questions with your doctor or other health care provider.

References
  • Ultram [tramadol] prescribing information. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Revosed Oct. 2019. Accessed Nov. 12, 2020 at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/020281s045lbl.pdf
  • Tramadol product monograph. Drugs.com. Updated March 1, 2020. Accessed Nov 11, 2020 at https://www.drugs.com/tramadol.html

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