Some of you may be aware that this week, I hurt my back and I'm currently taking oxycodone for the pain. As a rule, I take 400mgs of tramadol daily and have done for over the past two years.

Because I was unfamiliar with the oxycodone, I did a little research. Whilst doing so, I can across all these stories about becoming addicted and the subsequent withdrawals - not a concern to me as I will only be taking it for couple weeks max - but they also Referred to the "horrific" withdrawals from tramadol . I obviously knew that tramadol was habit forming but in no way was aware of how terrible it is to come off it, even when slowly reducing .

This has really scared me a bit - I'm aware that may sound very niave. Has anyone taken tramadol for a period of time and then stopped and if so, is this process as horrific as has been described?

I ask really because reading comments on the site, I had been thinking of trying to stop and use alternative stuff- such as turmeric etc.


22 Replies

  • Oxycodone , tramadol, Xanax , heroin, etc are all opiates. These drugs have become an epidemic in a area of the City that I live called the DTE...but since I was aware of this and how dangerous these drugs are I didn't have a problem coming off of tramadol & xanax. I was on these drugs legally, due to medical reasons, not to get high. So I slowly reduced and whenever I started to panic about feeling sick, I just allowed myself to reduce these drugs more slowly. I had a goal, and as long as I had a goal I was fine. You too will be fine. I will be holding your hand in this virtual world. I got your back. I've been there.

  • Thanks so very much for that suzannedale. It just never occurred to me that coming off any of these drugs could be so problematic.

    Before going back to uni to do social work degree, I trained as a psychiatric nurse so do have an understanding of drugs and their effects and I guess in social work, I've seen people addicted and mis using these types of drugs and the impact of that but for some reason, god only knows why, I didn't make the connection with me being prescribed and medicated and potentially having any kind of withdrawal?

    Crazy now that I have thought about it?!

    However, as well as biologic every week, I currently take 45 various tablets per week and I'm so lethargic all the time, I have to think that this must be part of the reason and have just become a bit fed up with it all?

    So again, thank you.


  • I take no pride in knowing about opiate drugs. I grew up watching cousins & other family members live in the "druggy" world. They are now sad generational DTE zombies.

    So needless to say I was horrified to get a prescription for tramadol and Xanax. I had to come to the realization that tumeric and Omega 3 fish oil was not strong enough for my pain. My goal was not to get high and wonder the streets, my goal was to survive and live a full life. So now I take what I need and move on. My eyes are wide open on the dangers, and I am happy to claim my only addiction is apple pie.My thighs might be fat, but I am OK :)

  • Yeah, I understand what you're saying. Addiction can cause such devastation in families. It's always tragic to witness this.

    They're pretty heavy drugs they give us aren't they? They bring additional Problems with them and it's sometimes difficult to know whefher feeling crappy is the RA / AS or whether it's the side effects of the drugs?

    Due to reading some of the alternatives used positively by some on this site , it's just got me thinking there may be other things I should be trying and looking at getting off at least some of the painkillers I'm currently on. I would do this after consultation with my medical team.

    Onwards and upwards, eh.

    Hope your managing things ok and are relatively Pain free.


  • The first thing I want to say is don't beat yourself up about this. You have a pretty nasty form of AS/RA so whatever it takes to get you through is ok. After all these drugs are there for a reason, and many manage on them for a lifetime. My experience of people with unauthorised drug dependency is that if they have a stable lifestyle and can afford and access black market drugs safely then few people would ever know they were addicts. I know a high functioning heroin addict who is no different from you or me, holds down a job etc etc. But drugs are expensive and easily tip people into a downhill spiral, which ends up with the street druggies we see shuffling about.

    But if you want to reduce your use of them then that's also good. Have you talked to your GP about it? There are also things like pain clinics that might help in finding replacement methods for pain control. And looking at precisely what pain you have & where, to see if extra support, tailored exercise and so on might also help.

    It's also remarkable the different medical approaches. I did what sounds exactly the same thing to my back a month or so back. Agony! Anyway OH managed to get me into car to GP, who took one look at me and injected me with a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory. Then a nurse turned up at my door morning and evening for next 5 days to do the same. Followed by 18 sessions of proper physiotherapy and an exercise programme. Not a painkiller in sight bar a few paracetamol. And now I'm fine (in fact back is better than it was as physio sorted out the imbalance that had caused my back to spasm and lock in first place). I'm learning to love the French medical system hugely! Sadly the U.K. no longer has time & money for the gentle, hands on approaches. So hope your back is slowly improving with nature.

  • I agree HH, it does seem the first approach here is to offer anelgeis - bit like a sticking plaster isn't it. There's maybe a little bit of me that gets that if it were perhaps an injury that would heal on its own and as such the pain would fade over a period of time but I'm not certain that's the case for me.

    It do have weekly physio and this will help with keeping joints mobile, especially my spine but the physio said that's all it can do, it clearly wouldn't slow the progression of disease down. Nonetheless, I do feel it helps, physically and psychologically - I feel I am actively doing something to help me self, if that makes sense?

    In terms of the drugs, I e always been of the view that there's no need to suffer unnecessarily and as such, have always been compliant with whatever is suggested by medical team but on reading all these stories about trying to come off these pain killers, it made me think about it - I don't want to have to suffer more because of the drugs they out me on; seems counter productive?

    I wouldn't just stop taking anything without consulting medical team - the sad fact is I may no be able to function without them but I am at the place where I'd love to look at every alternative.

    Thanks as always, for your response.


  • I wasn't really thinking specifically of the tramadol, as it seems with the damage you've collected you need it. And sounds eminently sensible to keep an open mind for alternatives.

    It's more the ease of handing out oxycodone for your current back issue that made me pause. Sure only for a short time, but it's still a strong drug. I have 3 damaged discs, so am pretty used to a degree of daily pain, but this spasm that caused my back to lock completely was hell. So the French approach of tackling the cause rather than just mask the pain was hugely welcomed. It can't heal the underlying damage, but making sure that all the supporting muscles are the best they can be was massively appreciated. I'm not sure the poor beleaguered NHS has time for that these days.

  • I absolutely agree - the strain on the NHS is significant and becoming increasingly stretched and analgesia is generally the first thing that the gp offers. There very much are more appropriate and infinetly better approaches.

    When I was thinking of withdrawal, it wasn't the oxycodone that concerned me so much ( I won't take this longer than a fortnight ) but the long term analgesia we take ; for me tramadol and the potential withdrawal from then.

    Thanks HH


  • Hi Marie, i believe guidance and support to reduce sloooowly over a period of time is the recommended path because in some people tramadol reduction can cause un comfortable symptoms, almost anything that is a heavy dose and effects the body can be a problem if stopped suddenly, i had a friend who was an alchoholic and she was told by her doctor not to suddenly stop drinking unless under medical supervision like a rehab, she was told reducing slowly is fine but not suddenly stopoing. I guess its similar with our meds.


  • Thanks Leon, I understand that's the way to go and uncomfortable I can deal with - I think Ive just scared myself reading all these horror stories!

  • Always better to be sensibly cautious which from reading your posts thats what you seem to be doing, we all know but occasionally seem to ignore the maxim "prevention is better than cure",. I totally admire your desire to reduce your tramadol consumption the stuff is toxic and i hate taking it. I have twice tried to reduce but within 3 days given up because the pain was unbarable as the reduced dose became my chemical crutch, i take high doses of tramadol daily and morphine twice a day to allow me two times 3 hours of sleep. My gp is happy to allow me whatever i wish to control thr pain but i wiuld tmrather cope eith some pain than drift from day to day as i do when i flare. I do hope when cannabis becomes legal that it will at least give me a viable alternative. The few times ive tried it i seem to relax and be less aware of pain but what is out there is so variable and unreliable at present and i cannot take illegal drugs anyway living in a care facility as it can cause immediate termination of tenancy.


  • It really does feel like being between a rock and a hard place at times, doesn't it?

    I wish you the best going forward .


  • Hi Marie - I went through the same research and the same horrors over withdrawal.. I understand from numerous websites where it was discussed that it is really horrific. I take about 150 mgs of Tramadol a day, and I DID take myself off of it for about a week. I had 2 - 3 days where I was overly emotional and could hardly sleep, then it calmed down. But a couple of things occurred to me after talking with a good friend of mine who is an OR Nurse:

    1) I wasn't on the highest doses, so that should be good

    2) I wasn't adding to the doses. Some of the folks I read about on the withdrawal boards were taking 30 - 40 tablets a day, and that seems like an addiction to me. They were also constantly seeking more

    3) I take the bare minimum to get through the day, and while I don't like that I need them, I do need them, so I am taking them again.

    As for alternatives, there are many natural ones. I can't use turmeric, but I do use cinnamon powder, K2, and things like Aged Garlic Extract can help strengthen the immune system. Although that is always the question that pops across my mind: If I have an autoimmune disease, am I making it worse by making my immune system stronger? Ha ha. I Don't know the answer to that...

  • Yes, I've never quite understood that either Caeryl?!

    I only ever take what has been prescribed to me and only ever what I need in any given day. Unfortunately, if I miss a dose, I know about it, which doesn't bode well for the future.

    As I said previously, I think I maybe just gave myself a bit of a fright reading about potential withdrawal.

    Thanks for responding Caeryl.


  • I know what you went through I think. My poor hubby got bombarded with the "OMG! Listen to this! Look at this!", etc. because I was so fritzed by it. Then when I calmed down, had done the withdrawal and realized that I was Tramadol free but still in pain, cooler heads prevailed - ha ha

    I also wonder this: Are you an addict if you think you might be? I've seen two sets of answers to that - on each side of the fence... I decided not to worry about it but just watch and keep it under control. I think you'll be fine too.

  • Good question. I don't see myself as an addict at all . I think part of any addiction is the psychological need / dependency. However, I do recognise that my body will be dependent , if that makes any sense?

    It is only the thought of being uncomfortable / crap coming off them, that scared me - but in no way would it prevent me from doing so . I need the pain under control - it i don't necessarily need them, so to speak.

    Just increasingly aware that all these tablets whilst helping on one level, are damaging me on another.


  • Hello Eiram, well I did try not taking Tramodol for a week. The worst thing I remember happening was that I had to much pain back without it, so I went back on it. I do plan on trying this again when I feel better. What We're the side effects that u read about? 🌻

  • Hi richgirl

    Huge mood swings, insomnia , nausea , sweats, depression and anxiety - sounded awful and to be honest, after being on tramadol for the past couple of years, I hadn't actually given it any though so on reading it, especially when I was at the point of considering other ways of managing pain long term, I just though S....!


  • Any thought, sorry , typo!

  • Wow that sounds scary. I've been on Tramodol 400mg daily for many years now. I think about 7 years. I have RA pretty bad but have got my inflamation back to normal through diet. But I still have pain. I am going to try stopping it again but slowly. I have to wait though. Because I just got a flare up last week because of something I ate & it takes awhile to get stable again. Thanks so much for giving us this info. I had no idea that it could be dangerous to stop cold turkey. 🌻

  • Yeah- what was mire disturbing is these people appeared to be coming off them slowly? Guess as anything it may be different due each of us but it's good maybe to just be aware?

    Sad to hear you're not feeling the best; hope things settle for you soon.


  • Thank you. The hardest part is craving things that I know I can't eat. 🌻

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