All opioids work by attaching themselves to opioid receptors that live on nerve cells, blocking pain signaling between the brain and body. Opioids can also stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, elevating mood. When taken in high doses, drugs including tramadol and hydrocodone can produce a pleasurable high. When it comes to prescription opioids, sometimes people take them together accidentally or intentionally. In this case, the question our Texas treatment center wants to answer is: can you take tramadol and hydrocodone together?
To understand what happens when you take hydrocodone and tramadol together, you must first know their differences and similarities. Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER) and tramadol (Ultram) are both prescription opiates or narcotics used to treat pain. However, tramadol is less potent than hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is usually reserved as an alternative to treat people who haven’t experienced pain relief from weaker opiates, such as tramadol or codeine. Additionally, hydrocodone and tramadol are different because the former is partially synthetic, while the latter is entirely synthetic. This means that hydrocodone is derived from the poppy plant like other narcotics but may contain some additional chemicals that boost its pain-relieving abilities. On the other hand, tramadol is entirely synthetic, meaning it’s completely man-made in a lab.
Additionally, both hydrocodone and tramadol produce similar side effects, including:
They work similarly by targeting opioid receptors in nerve cells that, when coupled with the natural opioid your body makes, affect pain, reward, gastrointestinal function, and respiratory function. Our bodies naturally produce opioids (endogenous opioids) to manage pain. As a result, when the body is flooded with pharmaceutical opioids like tramadol and hydrocodone, the painkilling or analgesic ability of certain regions of the brain is heightened. However, because endogenous opioids also govern pleasure and reward, both illicit and prescription opioids are highly addictive. If you find yourself struggling to control your use of any prescription opioids or other substances, the medical detox offered at Banyan Texas can help you slowly wean off of these drugs and get better.
So, the question is, can you take tramadol and hydrocodone together? You should not take hydrocodone and tramadol together because doing this can lead to serious side effects like seizures, respiratory depression, coma, and even death. Taking these two together also increases your risk of overdose. The most life-threatening and common symptom of overdosing on opioids is respiratory depression, which refers to shallow or ineffective breathing. This can lead to loss of consciousness, permanent brain damage, and death.
Despite the dangers of this combination, many people still take these substances together because they crave the tramadol and hydrocodone high that is produced by taking these drugs simultaneously. Some people may also use opioids with alcohol to intensify the sedative and pleasurable side effects of opioids, further increasing their risk of overdose. Additionally, for similar reasons, some people have even been known to take tramadol and Ativan together. Unfortunately, tramadol and hydrocodone interactions also include addiction. Individually, both drugs have a high potential for abuse, but when taken together, their side effects are enhanced. This includes their impact on the reward system in the brain. When a person abuses opioids or takes them in high doses, they may experience a chemically rewarding high that encourages them to continue using in the future.