Tramadol Availability in UK: Hi, My NHS GP has... - Pain Concern

Pain Concern

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Tramadol Availability in UK

Rocketman69 profile image


My NHS GP has prescribed me Tramadol for a couple of months after I presented to the surgery with depression and ongoing pain management issues. We discussed the available options and the GP prescribed Tramadol as a combined medication to deal with both issues as I had previously been on SSRI & SNRI meds with no success and the cocodamol was not cutting it on the pain front. I must say, it has been a wonder drug for me, improving both pain and mood but as there is a lot of controversy around opioids at the moment, the practice as a whole has formulated a policy which does not allow prescription of such meds beyond a short period. I am now left high and dry during lockdown with no effective remedy, at least not in the short term. I have no desire to start trawling the internet for dodgy imports or fake meds but people on this site have in the past been prescribed Tramadol on a private prescription. Where can this option be sought or pursued? As it is a controlled substance, it's my understanding that many GPs in private practice locally are not prescribing such types of meds. What are my options here?

34 Replies

My understanding of the opiate prescription situation was that the Dr emails it to the pharmacy and you arrange collection.

There are issues around posting opiates, so you might have to collect it in person.

If your GP has already prescribed it, there shouldn't be a problem continuing with that.

Rocketman69 profile image
Rocketman69 in reply to Madlegs1

All doctors in my surgery will not prescribe it beyond a couple of months. They have a big problem with addicts locally at that surgery and they've just made it a policy. There is no way they are willing to represcribe until they have consulted a pain management clinic and sought advice, which will probably take weeks under current circumstances. The dispensing of the prescription is not the issue, it's obtaining one in the first place. As my surgery won't do it, i'm trying to obtain a private prescription but don't know where to start. The big private GP surgery in my town do not prescribe controlled medications.

Madlegs1 profile image
Madlegs1 in reply to Rocketman69

Sorry-- understand now.

Yes-- I had to go private route to get ongoing prescription.

Sorry for your trouble.

Good luck.

in reply to Madlegs1

Why is that, I've been taking tramadol on repeat prescription for 5 years without going private

Madlegs1 profile image
Madlegs1 in reply to

It depends on which country you are in.

In Ireland and I suspect UK, it requires a consultant to initially prescribe opiates. After that the GP or PCP can continue.

I was on a waiting list for the pain clinic which was going to be over 14 months, so I had to go to the same consultant privately, just to get the opiate prescribed.

Since then, my GP has written the prescription for the last 3 years.

Hope that clarifies matters.


in reply to Madlegs1

Hi, sorry if I'm disturbing you, sorry again, I jumped to conclusions. thinking you may have been another one where doctors are playing lucky dip with your medication so again I apologise 😁

Madlegs1 profile image
Madlegs1 in reply to

Absolutely no problem. It's always good to check facts and make queries. It's the only way to get information.

Mind yourself!😎

in reply to Madlegs1

Thank you, have a good weekend


in reply to Madlegs1

No, my GP has prescribed both of my opiates (Tramadol and then Oxycodone) whomever told you that you needed to pay to see the consultant and then get it prescribed was wrong.

Madlegs1 profile image
Madlegs1 in reply to

Not in Ireland.

in reply to Madlegs1

You did say "and I suspect the UK" 😊

in reply to Rocketman69

Ah I get it now! I had to go through a whole "There are addictive traits to this drug" thing before I was able to go to Oxycodone. But... I have never reacted to any drug in that it has given me the high, they knew I wasn't a candidate for addiction; so maybe if you explain in full how much it helps with pain and play on your mental health? They can't leave you in pain!

Seraphina56 profile image
Seraphina56 in reply to

I took 400 mg Tramadol for two weeks for shingles pain and two months later I’m still trying to get off it. It’s nothing whatever to do with experiencing a ‘high’ that you don’t want to let go of or of having ‘addictive traits’, it’s a matter of awful physical withdrawal symptoms when you start to reduce it.

I didn’t like any of the feelings I had whilst I was taking it.

I took the advice online of 10percent a week reduction but got so ill I had to put it back up. Now I’m on a regime of one week alternating old and new dose daily and one week all new dose; I’ve managed to get down to 100 mg a day but today starting feeling the withdrawal symptoms again.

So I’m sorry to sound negative but my advice would be, by all means take it if it’s the only thing that will sort out your pain, but do take all the warnings seriously as this can be a very difficult drug to get off - and when you’ve had enough, come off it very, very, very slowly.

in reply to Seraphina56

Two weeks? Wow! That is nothing, I'm sorry, but it is. 20 years of it and I came off it with no problems whatsoever, as has my daughter. It's all in the mind.

Mrscharlie profile image
Mrscharlie in reply to

It most certainly is not all in the mind , I am so glad for you & your daughter that you had no problem coming off it , but you may just have been lucky . I have chronic arthritis from head to toe , have two new knees , get injections in spine & shoulders every three months I am in Trramasol 200 mg morning & night along with anti inflammatory, allapuranoll for gout & if I'm late at taking my meds in the morning I literally , physically can't get out of bed in the morning .

oldgrumps profile image
oldgrumps in reply to Madlegs1

I am prescribed opiates and have been having patches for 10 years! I think they are a great alternative to taking pills! Just had a full blood test and all is well, apart from the pain! It is good used correctly!

oldgrumps profile image
oldgrumps in reply to oldgrumps

I’ve been on Transtec patches for about 10 years, just had de-nervation which took the pain away in 4 minutes!!! So I then get pain at top of spine and told it's PMR, then 2 months later told it's not PMR and I have to come of of the tablets! Waiting for blood tests results, keep everything crossed! The patches were a life saver, de-nervation great, Ryzotomy I think it is called, just hope the nerves do not grow back too quickly.

I've been on tramadol for a few months now, and my gp has finally put it on my repeats so I can order when it runs out. If you are taking it as prescribed there shouldn't be a reason for them to stop it, they said the same to me about cocodamol, I'm still taking those since last October, the drs can see how much pain I'm in so they let me take it, especially since I'm very careful about dosage

Took me off cocodamol and onto paracetamol and naproxen again plus Oramorph and Transtec patches! Taken the pain back a bit but not a lot, problem was both ends of spine until de-nervation, it is only top of spine now, hope to have more treatments soon, All down to how busy they are! Things can only get better.

My daughter has been on Tramadol for 10 years with no problem at all and I was on double the dose she's on for over 20, again with no problem and then was placed on Oxycodone (I'm allergic to Morphine) so, your GP is following the addiction guidelines.

It is YOUR body, YOUR pain, tell them straight that you want to have Tramadol as your painkiller of choice, no ifs, or buts!

been on tramadol for about 6yrs that I take with gabapenton and diazepam for nerve pain and anxiety ( I am also on a lot of other medication ) my dr has it on repete and the hospital also does so mine gets delivered once a month from chemist , give your dr a call and ask for a script ,

Just switch your doctor surgery. Way easier than private prescription. That is a highly unusual stance on prescribing Tramadol. I would of changed practices ASAP. Tramadol works best over the long term and is a wonderful drug that can really help and most doctors know this.

I've been on tramadol and co codamol for 3 yrs my surgery has no problem with prescribing it long term

Hiya the co-codamol you were prescribed before was it 500/30 mg as I have severe Fibromyalgia and that really helps me.

Rocketman69 profile image
Rocketman69 in reply to Ashisan

Yes, it was. It's OK but not as good. And does nothing for my mood like tramadol did.

Could you not get an emergency prescription for them of ur dr or shropdoc (111) I take oramorph for pain and I run out over Easter weekend I phoned 111 and they did me an emergency prescription hopefully they can do the same for u x

This is worrying as they should be able to talk you through this and if nothing else prescribe an alternative. Ask to be referred to a pain clinic and continue with the prescription in the meantime? They can't just leave you floating without any proper treatment, surely. (Unless you have tooth problems, of course :-) )

Tramadol seems to work well for some people and not for others. It's highly addictive and can cause withdrawal problems in a small number of weeks. I've only had it once, it was effective enough but made me sick :D

"Where can this option be sought or pursued?"

You cant get a private prescription for tramadol, only the GP can prescribe it and even they are hesitant due the change in recent guidelines in prescribing opioids.

Hi Rocketman69.

I'm sorry to hear of your ongoing pain and the struggle you have at present with pain management.

I am a nurse although not practising due to illhealth sadly but I am also now on longterm pain medication myself, tramadol being one of them. I have to say I am very reluctant to take the prescribed dose and only take 50mgs if my pain is particularly troublesome this is partly due to my knowledge of the addictive nature of tramadol and also it seems to give me more side effects than other pain relief.

In your case I think I would contact the gp surgery maybe via email as the doctor may have a bit more time to read through it and make a decision, instead of a quick discussion on the phone and I would outline that although you are aware of the practice policy around taking tramadol longterm that you are hoping they will reconsider this for you in order to establish control of your pain during this time of lockdown as routine appointments are suspended and until you can be reviewed or referred/assessed by a pain clinic. You could ask if there is an alternative they could give alongside to allow you to take a lower dose for safety. I'm sure your gp will realise you are asking because we are in the middle of this coronavirus health crisis which unfortunately has coincided with you starting this medication and maybe they will reissue it for you...

Fingers crossed

Take care

Hi - most doctors are starting to realise that opiates are not necessarily the best treatment for long term pain. They are meant to treat acute pain. Chronic pain lasts for more than 3 months and opiates, in fact any medication, is not the best treatment option. I visit St Thomas hospital in London for their pain management as I had a spinal stimulator inserted there. They have just advised me not to take tramadol regularly, but to take a dose whenever I cannot handle the severe pain I get. Taking it in this way has been beneficial. I am also under InHealth Pain Management who look at pain in a similar way to St Thomas. There are many options which help more than painkillers - and no side effects! I understand you want the Tramadol (I was on morphine for a long time but came off it when I had a stroke and doctors suggested the morphine could be responsible) but it might be worth considering other options. There is a website on managing pain but I just can't remember the link - I'm sure you'll find it if you browse. Good luck! ps - if you really want the Tramadol, either insist or if necessary change your GP.

Hi, To be honest, it was more beneficial for my mood, although also effective for pain. No antidepressant has ever helped anywhere near as much as the tramadol did.

Barbola profile image
Barbola in reply to Rocketman69

I am only getting thirty Pill supply of 50 mg Tramadol after i was hospitalized kidney from Meloxicam....but i only take Tramadol, when needed,50 mg a day! It helps the pain, elevates my mood, and since i take no other meds of any kind, maybe react to the smallest dose! Stash it in my house bc am in great fear of the next sciatica attack! Good luck.....why would a GP start with such a hi dosage anyway?

I'm on duloxetine for depression and I've found it fairly helpful

I've been put on that too. Day 4 and counting. First day, couldn't sit still for about 3 hours, since then, I feel more depressed and anxious about 2 hours after taking it, for about 5 hours. I'm thinking about stopping taking them. Just annoys me that all of a sudden, something that was working wonders was stopped and now I have to go through this. I've tried Venlafaxine, Sertraline, Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluloxetine, Mirtazepine and now Duloxetine, and i've had very little benefit from any of them unfortunately.

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