The Correlation Between Tramadol and Blood Pressure

Some drugs can make blood pressure rise. Others can interact with your blood pressure medicine, preventing the drug from working correctly. Various studies have tried to analyze if there’s a connection between tramadol and blood pressure. Mainly because tramadol has been linked to high blood pressure and low blood pressure, pointing to a correlation between both.

What’s Tramadol?

Tramadol is a prescription painkiller medication that’s considered a synthetic opioid. It acts very similarly to other opioids, blocking pain receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). Tramadol is mainly used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is often prescribed to treat pain after surgery or chronic pain caused by conditions such as cancer or neuropathy.

Tramadol is the drug’s generic name. It’s available under several brand names, including Ultram, Ultracet, Qdolo, and ConZip.

How Tramadol Affects Blood Pressure

Although rare, some adverse reactions of tramadol affect blood pressure. After taking the drug, between 1 and 5 percent of tramadol users developed high blood pressure (hypertension). Less than 1% of tramadol users developed low blood pressure (hypotension) in the same studies.

While tramadol doesn’t seem to interact with blood pressure medications, other interactions are possible. Taking other drugs can interfere with how the body processes tramadol, so people experience fluctuations in their blood pressure. For example, tramadol isn’t a blood thinner, but it might interact with blood thinners.

Many drugs interact with tramadol, including:

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  • Antidepressants
  • Headache drugs
  • Hypnotics
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Anesthesia drugs
  • Opioid drugs
  • Blood thinners
  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungal drugs
  • Heart rhythm drugs
  • Protease inhibitors
  • Seizure medications

Some people wonder if you can take tramadol with anti-inflammatories and other over-the-counter medications. While it’s generally safe to take tramadol with anti-inflammatories, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before introducing new drugs.

Even though blood pressure changes are not a common side effect of tramadol, medication interactions can cause extreme changes in blood pressure. With so many drug interactions for tramadol, it is essential to discuss before taking the drug with your doctor.

Additionally, people taking tramadol should avoid taking additional opioid medications and consuming alcohol.

Tramadol Side Effects

Tramadol taken orally can cause drowsiness and sleepiness. Most tramadol side effects occur when people first start taking the drug and usually wear off over time. The most common side effects of tramadol include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness
  • Weakness
  • Heartburn
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure

In sporadic cases (less than 5% of people taking tramadol), some less common and severe side effects may occur, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Weight loss
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Rashes
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Respiratory depression

Serotonin symptoms occur when there’s too much serotonin in the body. It can cause anywhere from mild to fatal symptoms, if not appropriately addressed. In sporadic cases, people taking tramadol can experience serotonin syndrome and exhibit symptoms such as hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, fluctuating blood pressure, nausea, muscle rigidity, and coma.

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How Long Do the Effects of Tramadol Last?

Tramadol is available in different forms and strengths that will change how long its effects last. On average, the half-life of tramadol is 8 hours. This means it takes eight hours after taking the drug for the concentration of tramadol in the body to be cut by half. The half-life of tramadol will significantly vary depending on its presentation, for example:

  • Injections: start working within 30 minutes and last 6 hours.
  • Slow-acting tablets and capsules: start working within 60 minutes and last for 24 hours.

Various factors such as age, sex, liver function, and overall health will affect how long the effects of tramadol last. People with reduced kidney or liver function may have more significant difficulties expelling the substance from their system. Dosage, time in-between doses, and other factors may also contribute to how long the effects last.

Taking Tramadol

How much tramadol you can take depends greatly on your level of pain and conditions. Your doctor will determine the proper dosage for your treatment plan. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take tramadol as prescribed.

  • Stopping tramadol suddenly can make your pain continue and cause withdrawal symptoms, including increased blood pressure.
  • Not taking the drug on schedule may cause tramadol to work less effectively or stop working altogether.
  • Taking too much can cause a tramadol overdose, with symptoms such as muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and seizures.

When taking tramadol, follow the doctor’s prescription orders to prevent any side effects or withdrawal symptoms. In addition, let your doctor know about any changes in blood pressure while using this medication. Although rare, the correlation between tramadol and blood pressure exists. If you experience any changes, it’s worth it to consult with your doctor to seek tramadol alternatives to help with your pain.

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About the Author: Tung Chi