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Patients Prescribed Tramadol Less Likely To Develop Dependency

Aug 21, 2008
Most people live their lives taking their health for granted, as long as they are feeling no pain. But if they happen to suffer a physical injury, the first thing on their mind is finding a way to reduce the pain. Tramadol is one of the most widely used pain relief medicines available to patients who are in need of treatment for moderate to severe pain. It is an analgesic, or pain killer that works on the brain and nervous systems in somewhat mysterious ways. While it is classified as an opioid, it is very much unlike any other pain relief medicine in this classification such as morhine and codeine. It is not considered to be a controlled substance in the United States, which means that it can be obtained with a standard prescription from any medical doctor. Patients can even buy Tramadol at an online pharmacy via one of the many US licensed pharmacies on the Internet.

A German pharmaceutical company named Grunenthal GmbH invented Tramadol in their laboratory near the end of the 1970s. At that time they gave it the name Tramal. Since then they have sold the rights to a wide variety of companies around the world who have come up with a lot of different names. A company in Argentina markets it as Calmador. In Sweden a company sells it as Tradolan. In Isreal it is sold as Tramadex, and in South Korea this particular medicine can be purchased as Tandol. Ultram and Ultracet are other names for this prescription drug in the United States. Today there are over 55 different brand names for Tramadol worldwide.

There is releatively little negative health related press attached to Tramadol as a prescription medicine, mostly because it is not abused recreationally as much as some other opioids. The reported negative side effects of Tramadol abuse are nausea, abnormal sweating, vomiting, constipation and seizures. These side effects can create a very unpleasant experience if this drug is abused, which puts it low on the lists of prescription drugs for experimental drug users.

Tramadol is available by a prescription from US licensed physicians and legal to be purchased online at US licensed pharmacies or at any pharmacy. This is due to the fact that this synthetic agent is less likely to cause a dependency if used for an extended period of time. This is an important factor when doctors consider the long term health of their patients who take a prescribed medicine for pain.

Unlike other prescription drugs in its class, Tramadol has a relatively mild effect on the mu opioid receptor. This is a nerve receptor that is located in the periaqueductal grey area of the brain, otherwise known as the midbrain grey matter area. It is responsible for what is called the Gate Control Theory of pain relief. Opioids such as morphine and vicodin bind very easily to it and inhibit the pathway of the neurons that are being sent to the brain to register pain. The Gate Control Theory is the basis of most modern analgesics and it has revolutionized the way pain can be managed.

This affinity to the mu opioid receptor can also be responsible for the creation of a dependency to the opioid drug that is being used. However, Tramadol has a weaker affinity to this receptor than the other opioids in its class, which means that addiction is less likely to occur. Thus, the health of the patient is compromised less by taking this particular medicine to reduce their pain.

Tramadol can be taken in many different forms including orally in a pill or tablet form, rectally with suppositories, injected and with an IV in hospitals. The dosages range from 50 to 400 milligrams per day, which is determined by the attending physician.

While it is true that the mild agonism of the mu opioid receptor is partially responsible for the effectiveness of Tramadol in treating pain, doctors and scientists are not quite sure about the other details of why Tramadol works. They know that it is something to do with the effect it has on the noradrenergic and serotonergic systems in the human body.

The serotonergic system involves the neurotransmitter known as serotonin which is responsible for many different functions in the human body. Among its many duties serotonin is in charge of the regulation of various moods such as anger, as well as the regulation of sleeping patterns and appetite. It is created in the intestines by the amino acid tryptophan.

The noradrenergic system is responsible for such things as the fight or flight response we get when we are placed in a very stressful and dangerous situation. When a situation like this happens, norepinephrine which is also know as noradrenaline is sent to the part of the brain that controls attention and response processing. This hormone and neurotransmitter comes from a gland located in a part of the brain stem called the locus ceruleous. A neurotransmitter system is activated that sends neurons instantly along the spinal cord and distributes them to all parts of the body through millions of nerve pathways.

When norepinephrine is triggered the subjects heart rate increases, glucose is released into the bloodstream from stored up energy and all the muscles of the skeletin experience an increase in blood flow. The subject also experiences increased alertness and arousal. Studies have shown that the effect Tramadol has on the noradrenergic system may also have something to do with the decreased risk of developing a dependency, although the reason why is still not known.

Treating and controlling pain has come a long way in the past 100 years. The discovery of opioid based prescription drugs like morhine, codeine and vicodin have revolutionized pain treatment and brought relief to millions around the world who suffer from moderate to severe pain. However, there has been a negative health side effect from this benefit and it is the creation of dependencies on these drugs for millions of patients who took their prescribed pain medicine for extended periods of time.

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid medicine and it may be in the same class as the natural opiate based prescription drugs morphine and vicodin, but it has two very big differences from these two medicines. For one, it is not considered to be a controlled substance in the United States. This means that US licensed physicians can prescribe this analgesic to patients who can buy it at any pharmacy or online pharmacy that happens to be one of the many US licensed pharmacies on the Internet.

But the biggest thing that makes Tramadol different than other prescription drug opioids is that it can alleviate pain with a much lower chance of causing an addiction to the drug. This is very important when you consider the long term health of people who take pain medicine for extended periods of time.
About the Author
Michael P. Connelly is an Author, Artist and award-winning Filmmaker who writes on a variety of topics that effect people in their every day lives.

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