Tramadol and breathing problems

I suffer with asthma as well as Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism. I came off Pregabalin because I put on so much weight whilst taking. I had previously tried Gabapentin which made no difference whatsoever. I was then prescribed Tramadol which does help with the pain but I have gradually weaned myself off it because it depresses my breathing. I use inhalers but no matter how hard I try to inhale it feels as though my lungs are only working 10%..... I looked on Google for Tramadol side effects and one of the side effects is slowing down or STOPPING breathing. Has anyone else experienced this on Tramadol? My breathing has been so much better since I've come them!

14 Replies

  • Hi Alegna....Sorry to hear of your breathing problems, it must be quite alarming. Have you spoken with your GP about this as I feel that would be an option. I take Tramadol but not in high doses and have never had that problem but then I don't have asthma as well...hope you find the answer very soon....

  • Thank you for responding Trikki. I have an apt with my GP on Monday so will discuss then. Isn't it so difficult to get medication that actually works without side effects. ...x

  • Hi

    It is always worth reading the Patient Information leaflets when trying a new medication.

    I realise that not everyone will suffer all side effects, but it worth while knowing if there could be complications, particularly if there is a chance of an interaction with other meds.

    I have been prescribed meds that interact with something else and neither the doctor nor the pharmacist picked up on it but it was in the leaflet.

    I have asthma and tried Tramadol but could not continue more than a few days because of constantly feeling sick, so didn't notice any breathing problems.

    I suggest you go back to your GP and see what he can do for your pain.


  • Thank you Kay for your reply. I always read the possible side effects of any new meds prescribed for me but of course I then forget all about it. Because of the dreadful pain I'm in today I have taken one 50mg of Tramadol along with Paracetamol. So far so good. Seeing my GP on Mon so hopefully will get sorted out then... x

  • Wow they really gave you some powerful drugs there, inside the packets are details of side effects and a g.p should have known this! What else have you tried for fibro? Have you tried 30/500 Co Codamol? maybe ask g.p to try you on more conventional pain relief, I hope you find something soon, many of us have been down this road.

  • Thank you Caz for replying to my post. The meds I have been on have been prescribed by a neurologist. The one you suggested has codeine in and I'm allergic to it. It actually causes me to have hallucinations. Oh how I wish there was one on the market without horrible side effects! x

  • Hi there

    I was aware that Tramadol can cause breathing difficulties.

    It is so hard when we find something that actually helps with the pain but interacts with other issues we have.

    It's a real nightmare situation isn't it.

    How have you found just taking the Tramadol today? Perhaps you will be able to manage by not taking it regularly, but just when you're desperate.

    Wishing you less pain and more peace

    Lu xx

  • Oh thank you Lu. I'm ok at the moment so hopefully with the combo of Paracetamol/50mg Tramadol instead of taking 100mg it hopefully will be ok! Also it is a great idea just taking it when I absolutely NEED it instead of twice a day as prescribed. Hope Springs Eternal! x Angela

  • I cant tolerate tramadol, I tried it years ago never again xx

  • That's interesting Lou. What were the side affects? It would be interesting to know!!! X

  • I took it whilst I was still working, I was completely away with the fairies on my second dose, I couldn't function and my GP told me to never take it again, it made me quite ill xx

  • That's interesting. I also have brittle asthma as welll as bronchiectasis (lung condition) and significant allergies (inhaled) and have been on tramadol for around three years for my fibromyalgia. For the last two years I've been on the long acting variety and I don't think it affects my breathing, although honestly it's hard to be sure.

    Last year I suffered chest infections monthly when they changed my inhaler after a decision to save money. My breathing was appalling for the best part of 9 months until my respiratory consultant insisted they gave back my old inhaler (symbicort) at double the strength!

    I'm sure you already know to avoid ibuprofen even in gels as that can have a significant effect, as well as certain med combinations. Nevertheless, if tramadol makes your breathing worse don't take it. There are alternatives that might be less addictive in the long term and that suit you better. Hope you find a suitable alternative that relieves your pain well soon.


  • Thank you P I tried half strength tramadol with Paracetamol which worked for the pain but suffered the exact same breathing problems. I will never touch it again. B X

    een taking just Paracetamol on it's own but not so effective. Seeing my GP on Mon so hopefully will be given something that works without side effects!!! Angela

  • Just updating on my original post re: Tramadol/Breathing problems. Still was having difficulty with breathing even after taking my Salbutamol and Seretide inhalers. Saw my GP this morning and after examination informed me that I have a chest infection which is the cause of my breathlessness. On a course of Clarithromycin 500mg twice daily for 1 week. Hoping and praying that this does the trick. I will not take Tramadol again until I finish this course of antibiotic. Once again..... Hope Springs Eternal!!! Angela x

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