Citation: Ironranger. "5 Years and Counting: An Experience with Tramadol (exp54216)". Erowid.org. Jun 19, 2007. erowid.org/exp/54216
I've been taking Tramadol for back pain since my injury in 2001. I was told that it was not addictive and that the side effects were minimal. Prior to taking Tramadol, I had taken numerous types of pain killers including Lortab, Darvocet, and Percodan. None of these helped with the excruciating pain. One hour after taking 100mg of Tramadol, I was literally pain free and feeling an extreme buzz. I thanked god that I had finally found something to help me live a normal life.
I continued taking Tramadol, the miracle drug, for over a year with no side effects at all, other than a little constipation. I was able to play hockey again, play with my two small boys, and without any pain. After that first year, I started to have a few complications. I experienced short term memory loss to the point where I had to write down a to do list everyday, or I would completely forget. Some of you may be saying, 'It's just caused by getting older'. I'm definitely not that type of person. I had a photographic memory for numbers, especially larger numbers. I have always been able to memorize credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc... at just a glance. I used to be able to keep an entire weeks schedule of meeting with clients in my head, including dates, times, and meeting place.
Anyway, you get the point. The memory loss came on quite rapidly, within two weeks. My doctor gave me the brilliant deduction that it was caused by stress, but I knew it was the drug. About six months later, I had my first migraine. Prior to my injury and taking tramadol, I had never even had a regular headache. The migraine lasted 18 hours. I took two doses of 1000mg each of tylenol, and it did nothing. I was vomiting, had tunnel vision, and it felt like something trying to expand out of my head.
After that ordeal, I tried to stop the drug cold turkey. That's when I realized that there are definitely withdrawals. Withdrawals started about sixteen hours after taking my last 100mg dose. The first symptom I noticed can be best described as electricity pulsing through my body and down my arms and legs. It wasn't painful, just annoying. Then my entire body started to ache, similar to flu like symptoms. But still, the pain in my back had not come back. I took a sleep aid to try and sleep it off. It had no affect. After twenty fours hours, my back pain had returned, and I could hardly get out of bed. I resorted back to Tramadol. I came down to quality of life. With the back pain I didn't have much of a life.
Over the next three and half years, I experimented with dosage to reap the rewards without the side effects. I tried higher doses, 150mg, right away in the morning to see if that would get me through the whole day. It didn't. It didn't seem to matter how large the dose was. The relief only lasted about six hours whether I took 50mg or 150mg. I did get greater relief with the higher dose during that six hours.
After numerous trials, I've reduced my dosage from 100 mg four times per day to 50mg twice daily over the course of a month, eliminating 50mg per week. 50mg is just enough to take the edge off my pain so that I can function normally for that six hours. Then I wait until I feel the onset of what I call the 'electrocution' before I take another 50mg. This usually occurs about 10-12 hours after the initial dose or right around dinner time and play time with the kids. The second dose doesn't wear off until I'm already asleep. I wake up feeling slightly electrocuted, and the cycle starts over. The migraines have stopped completely, but my memory has still suffered.
In conclusion, I've tried many times to completely stop taking tramadol, thinking to myself that I'm only taking 100mg per day and it should be easy. It's not. I feel the same withdrawals whether I take 400mg per day or 100mg. It's the only drug I've tried so far that allows me to live a relatively normal life, and I'm thankful for it.
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