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Help! I'm Addicted to the Painkillers I Bought Online!


Contents of this Article:


I am definitely addicted to tramadol (Ultram). I have tried to stop the drug several times, but the withdrawal symptoms are so unbearable (depression; diarrhea; lethargy; sweats; aching body much more worse than ever before taking the drug, especially upon wakng up in the morning; irritability; increase in tremor), that I get through a day or two and then I know that just "one" will take the withdrawal symptoms away, so back on the drug again!!! I know I am addicted (been buying the drug over the net from Thailand). I started taking the drug for aches and pains because it was "non-narcotic" and "non-habit forming - yeah right!!!!! (I have no medical insurance at this time).

Well, for me, it also produces a "euphoric" type of feeling, like I can get more accomplished when I take it. However, I had no problem getting things done before I ever took the drug!!! I noticed you have "Ultram" listed under the "Treatment" heading (first paragraph), and so now I know I am not abnormal (I guess this must be addictive for many people!!!).

At any rate, I really do want to quit taking this drug. I also have essential tremor (familial - mother had it) and am taking diazepam for the tremor (about 10 mg/day, no more than 20 mg/day, and that's only if I am going to be in a very uncomfortable social situation). I can even go without the diazepam. When I have tried to stop using the tramadol (Ultram), my head tremor gets worse. If I could, I would just hide at home for a week or so and detox; I would have no problem doing that, but I have to function for work, day-to-day LIFE, etcetera (no vacation time, and Monday comes around pretty quickly, hence me only getting through two days of trying to detox). Please............Do you have any suggestions on herbs, etcetera to help ease withdrawal from tramadol?.......just so I can function somewhat during the detox/withdrawal period. Also, do you have any experience with other cases of withdrawal from this drug, and if so.........how long do the extreme symptoms last?

Thank you so much for your time.



Right on, T.S.. It's great that you can admit you have a problem with it.

While browsing online, I was pretty amazed by how many addictive prescription drugs you could buy illegally. The websites said, "comes in a discrete package," and "nobody needs to know!" I understand that sometimes people are recommended drugs that are embarassing to be on… but the dangers here are misuse, addiction, and overdose.

If I can beat an old drum for a minute, drugs should be prescribed by doctors, and chinese herbs by acupuncturist/herbalists. As you know from your experience, it's dangerous to treat yourself- even doctors shouldn't do that.

However, there are some legitimate websites that allow you to buy your prescriptions online. They require a doctor's prescription, as they should. The main advantage of using an online pharmacy is much lower prices than your local drugstore. Check out Imported Drugs.com.

It's not my place to recommend what to do with meds that are already being taken... even though it's a little different when you're taking self-prescribed, illegally-purchased meds. It's best to work with an MD and an acupuncturist/herbalist. What the literature suggests is:

Quitting Ultram

One should TAPER off the Ultram rather than just suddenly stopping. That means reducing the dosage gradually over a number of days or weeks.

Herbs and Acupuncture for Withdrawal from Addictive Drugs

NADA (the proven ear acupuncture detox protocol - more about that in my article on Acupuncture and Addiction) could make the withdrawal period easier. So would the formulas:

  • Chai Hu Long Gu Mu Li Tang (Bupleurum Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell) and
  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Minor Bupleurum)

The first one (Chai Hu Long Gu Mu Li Tang) would be better for someone with a tremor disorder. Neither formula should be taken longer than a couple of months. My upcoming book on Chinese Herbs will contain reviews of websites that sell chinese herbal formulas... For now, here's a link to the Bupleurum Dragonbone formula at healthstores.com.

Instead of Painkilling Drugs...

Your prospects in the future for treating the aches and pains and tremor would be great with acupuncture and chinese herbs. I would suggest you find an acupuncturist in your area and see them for at least a few months.

Anything else you need, please let me know!

All the best,

Keep Reading Below for Reader Feedback to This Article

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  1. Freye E, Levy J. Acute abstinence syndrome following abrupt cessation of long-term use of tramadol (Ultram): a case study. Eur J Pain. 2000;4(3):307-11.
  2. Tobias JD. Seizure after overdose of tramadol. South Med J. 1997 Aug;90(8):826-7.
  3. Desmeules JA. The tramadol option. Eur J Pain. 2000;4 Suppl A:15-21. Review.
  4. Arcioni R, della Rocca M, Romano S, Romano R, Pietropaoli P, Gasparetto A. Ondansetron inhibits the analgesic effects of tramadol: a possible 5-HT(3) spinal receptor involvement in acute pain in humans. Anesth Analg. 2002 Jun;94(6):1553-7, table of contents.
  5. Mason BJ, Blackburn KH. Possible serotonin syndrome associated with tramadol and sertraline coadministration. Ann Pharmacother. 1997 Feb;31(2):175-7.
  6. DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE. http://opioids.com/tramadol/prescribe.html
  7. Tramadol Hydrochloride (Ultram), 50 mg tablets; Healthcare Professional Version. http://www.nursing.uiowa.edu/sites/PedsPain/Opioids/Tramtch.htm

Reader Feedback

April 1, 2003:

My wife has been taking up to 8 Ultram's a day that were prescribed by her doctor. Why is there not a class action law suite against the maker? It is classified as non-narcotic and non addictive. This is a bunch of bull! How many other folks are addicted and just don't know it yet? Just wait until they try to do without or go on a trip without it. My wife has had 2 seizures and is going through pure hell. This incorrect information must be stopped

Thanks for listening

March 27, 2003:

Hi, I enjoyed reading about the article, about the withdrawal symptons of Ultram. But I need more information on what I can do to help ease the withdrawal symptons since I'm pregnant and I can't taper myself off of the medication. Also, I was looking for the length of time it takes for the withdrawal symptons to go completely away.

The FDA lied. They stated that this drug is non-habit forming, non- narcotic.
I 'm very upset that I took this drug for pain for a degenerative disc disease and now

I'm faceing the horrible withdrawal symptons from the drug.. ALL I WANT TO KNOW IS how long does it take to get over the withdrawal symptons and what can I do to help speed up the process.

Thanks SLJ.

February 26, 2003:

I have fibromyalgia and my doctor prescribed Ultram 2 years ago, because my stomach couldn't tolerate anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Tylenol, nor any of the prescribed medications). I, myself, do not notice any form of addiction. I can go days without it and then if my chronic symptoms are bad, I take anywhere between 2-6 tablets a day. Most times it doesn't relieve my discomfort, this is where I just eliminate the medication all together.

Maybe this person whose addicted to it is over dosing, has mentally psyched herself to the fact that this medication is or isn't working or she has some other medical problems which could relate to some of her symptoms while taking Ultram. No two people are designed the same, so maybe there's a possibility her body can not tolerate Ultram. I'm sorry, but I'm a firm believer that this medication is not addicting and can be stopped cold turkey any time without any physical/psychological drawbacks.


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