Hi everyone, me again. As the IM steroid injection didn't work, my GP is switching me from Solpadol to Tramadol - I hear this is a pretty serious painkiller - does anyone have any advice/experience of it at all? Thanks all - have been reading all blogs/questions avidly in the past week and has really helped.

21 Replies

  • Hi,

    I've been using Tramadol for about the last 9 years - I step it up and down depending on my day to day needs. It has a very sedative effect initially but you do develop a tolerance.

    Main thing - don't drive! It affects your response time and concentration.

    Also, don't take it on an empty stomach - I use half a glass of milk or 2 digestive biscuits if not near a meal time.

    Direct message me if you want to ask anything.

    Cece x

  • Thanks Cece,

    I've been given 50mg to take 1 or 2 a day four times a day. I don't want to start it though as seeing your note about not driving, I have a work meeting on Wednesday and have to drive there and back so will start after I get home that night. Thanks for tip about making sure you don't have it on empty stomach. Wish me luck for Wednesday night. x

  • Hi Kezza, i too have taken Tramadol but found I couldn't sleep, as it's so strong it sort of put me on a high. We are all different so it may well suit you, I take co-codamol now and have done for about ten years.We all find something to suit us in the end.

    Good luck

    mand xx

  • Thanks Mand - I keep reading all these horror stories about tramadol online including side effects and bad withdrawal symptoms so a little scared to be honest! It's the gamble between pain management and normal living i.e. sleep, driving, working with a clear head......... oh what a life us RA guys lead eh? never a dull moment! ;-)

  • Some people myself have rare anapylatic reaction to tramadol it is quite rare.. ie severe breathing difficulties.. it is very rare. also v small number suffer from hallucinations again rare.. your best information is your patient information leaflet!!. When I hand out tramadol to hospital out patients I warn them of the possiblitity of anaphylaxis but stress it is rare.. forget the internet and horror stories.. read the inforamtion leaflet provided.. the internet can be misleading and even wrong, very few sites have any proper medical accreditation

  • I have been given Tramadol and found i was 'spaced' out after taking it. My physio & occupational health dr have both suggested that I speak with the doc to get something in between paracetemol & tramadol.

  • Thanks Summer and Widget - I didn't get a patient information leaflet (should I have as it was at my GP) unfortunately just the warning label on the drug packet........ it's the spaced out feeling that worries me most as I have to drive to work and concentrate on work too.

  • trust me the anapyhlatic reaction is more serious a lbeit rare.. not being able to breathe is a problem! I have no patient information leafelt to hand as I am at home .but I HAVE got the BNF at home for study and reference purposes

    Tramadol is an opioid analgesic or pain killer It is quite strong.. from BNF.

    4.7.2 Driving

    Drowsiness may affect skilled tasks eg driving..

    driving at start of opoid therapy should avoided and aslo following dose changes..

    the warning on your box of tablets should read.. this medicene may make you sleepy.If this happens do not drive or use tools or machines. do not drink alcohol.

    The drowsiness affect can wear off with continued use if the drug suits you.. but reaction times will always be slowed by the drug!

    Drug driving is viewed almost as seroiusly as drink driving.

    The advice is to take your first dose at home and see how it affects you

  • hi,

    I took it for aroung 6 weeks, full dose during a flare, the first dose I was pretty spaced out, but not unpleasant! for me it was the first thing that even touched the pain, when I came off it I did it gradually and had no ill effect. It did help, now I may only take 1 before bed when I'm really sore, I found the longer I used it, the less effective it was.

    Was able to concentrate more as pain wasn't so bad, wouldn't drive though.

    Good luck :)

  • Hi again,

    would agree with Wiliby - it's the only thing that goes near the pain when it's bad. I don't take it during the day unless absolutely necessary and I don't have to go anywhere. I have the SR version [sustained release] so taken at 8pm it lasts for 12 hrs but doesn't affect me driving the next morning.

    My rheumy said 'when there's a cue for RA we'll worry about getting you off these' - it's about quality of life now for me.

    Cece x

  • it's the only pain relief for me!! (along with naproxen) but I try to limit it's usage and keep it for night time.

  • thanks for your replies guys. Can I ask what do you take during the day to control the pain then?

  • I take Co-Dydramol during the day and Co-Codamol 30/500 at night. Tramadol turns me into a zombie so take only very occasionally, ie after surgery. Best pain relief method (as advised by pain clinic) is to keep topped up regularly to an effective dose and not taken just when needed.

  • Hi Kezza,

    I've been on Tramadol for the last couple of months (due to sciatica in my right leg). Took the first dose just before going to bed in case of side effects but I didn't have any (Well, only 1 - constipation - cured with eating a good handful of grapes every day and lots of fruit - this was only necessary for the first few weeks). I have found that the pain relief is wonderful. If the tramadol doesn't work 100 percent I back it up with 2 paracetamol. Sometimes I need 4 doses of tramadol a day but usually only take 3 doses if I can manage, this leaves me 1 stand-by dose if leg keeps me awake during the night. Hope this helps


  • Hi. It's brilliant but you can only take it when you have the opportunity to rest. After a week of pain I took 8 throughout the day yesterday, spent the day in a haze on the sofa but feel amazing this morning. Best to use it alongside weaker painkillers. Good luck x

  • Thanks everyone x

  • Hi Kezza I was prescibed it but then stopped because I was concerned about risk of side effects with anti depressants and anti convulscants - both of which I take. Sparkle x

  • I had no side effects or drowsiness from this drug at all but I do believe everyone has a different tolerance.

    Hope it works for you.

  • Hi kezza I have taken Tramadol 400mg for about a. Year now. I have the slow release ones because the others made me sick. I don't get any side effects and I drive and do everything fine. Hope tha helps x

  • I took my first Tramadol today. It really helped with the pain whereas Co-codamol 60mg strength dose was not strong enough. I felt really woozy though so think I will save this medicine for night time and when I don't have to work.

  • I love Tramadol. I was switched to this when they took Darvoset (sp?) off the market, which never helped anyway. I take one 50mg twice or three times a day unless I'm going to a dance lesson or dance party -- then I take two at a time 40 minutes before the lesson. My left ankle joint has deteriorated to the point of wearing an AnkleFootOrthotic at all times and is a major source of pain.

    A couple of the good side effects: Tramadol, although not approved as an antidepressant, has some of those properties and is used to wean people off full-time antidepressants. It is also an appetite suppressant, which I also need.

    The information in the last paragraph comes from an internet website about Tramadol.

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