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Can You Take Tramadol with Gabapentin?

Can You Take Tramadol with Gabapentin?

Tramadol and gabapentin are two of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. Both are used to treat chronic and nerve pain, which millions of Americans suffer from every year. However, a common problem among pain medication users is polydrug use or the mixture of two or more drugs. The question today is: can you take tramadol with gabapentin? And if you do, what happens?

What Is Tramadol?

Tramadol is classified as a synthetic opioid or narcotic that’s used to treat pain. Like other opioids, tramadol acts on opioid receptors on the surface of nerve cells to block pain signals from the body. It doesn’t cure whatever is causing the pain but rather dulls the signaling of pain from the body.

Tramadol comes in several forms, such as capsules, drops, and tablets. There are different formulations of tramadol, including immediate-release and extended-release.

Immediate release medications are designed to be taken several times a day and alleviate pain at the moment. Extended-release drugs are usually only taken once a day because their effects last for about 12 hours.

The dose of tramadol a person takes may vary depending on their height, weight, age, and the severity of their condition. As an opioid, tramadol has a high potential for abuse and addiction, which is why doctors usually start patients off at small doses and increase them gradually.

When a person first takes tramadol, they may feel dizziness, nausea, sedation, and other similar side effects. But as time passes, these side effects dissipate.

Unfortunately, drugs like tramadol have contributed to the opioid epidemic, a drug crisis in the U.S. compiled of thousands of opioid-related cases of addiction, overdoses, and deaths. These drugs are often abused for their potential to produce a euphoric high and are also sometimes mixed with other drugs to intensify this experience.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug designed to reduce nerve activity in the central nervous system to prevent and treat seizures. It’s given in capsules, tablets, or an oral solution or liquid. It’s available in both immediate and extended-release tablets, which may range in doses and frequency of use depending on the formulation and the person’s condition.

It works by altering electrical activity in the brain and influencing neurotransmitters or chemical messengers used by nerve cells to relay messages with each other. However, like tramadol, gabapentin’s activity-reducing abilities also effectively treat nerve pain associated with the shingles virus. When something is pressing on a nerve or when it isn’t working properly, it may send false signals to the brain, causing stabbing aches or pains that may last for months or even years after getting shingles.

Gabapentin acts like tramadol by depressing or relaxing the central nervous system to reduce nerve activity that may contribute to a seizure or send false signals and produce pain. This also means that gabapentin has a depressing or sedative effect on the brain.

Although it’s not as potent as tramadol, gabapentin is addictive. Its ability to produce sedation and activate the release of certain neurotransmitters makes it a common drug of abuse, especially when multiple depressants are taken at a time.

Can You Take Gabapentin With Tramadol?

Infographic about Can You Take Tramadol with GabapentinSo, can you take tramadol with gabapentin? Generally, you shouldn’t, though some doctors may prescribe these medications together to alleviate severe pain. But, if you aren’t advised to do so by your doctor, you should not take tramadol and gabapentin together.

A tramadol interaction with gabapentin is dangerous because both drugs act as depressants. They both reduce nerve activity in the brain and spinal cord, which may cause sedation, dizziness, nausea, and other side effects. When either is taken alone and as directed by a doctor, gabapentin and tramadol are safe, but their side effects are dangerously amplified when they're taken together.

Some side effects of gabapentin and tramadol together include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Seizures
  • Slowed breathing (respiratory depression)
  • Coma

When a person takes a high dose of antidepressants, they risk respiratory depression or poor and ineffective breathing. If the person does not receive medical help in time, they may fall into a coma, experience permanent brain damage, or even die.

Addiction is also a very real risk of mixing tramadol and gabapentin. These drugs have a potential for abuse and addiction, and taking them together without a prescription increases the individual’s risk of developing physical dependence and addiction. Mixing medications is a common form of drug abuse, and our rehab in Boston has provided prescription drug addiction treatment to many patients who have struggled with this habit.

Tramadol and Gabapentin Overdose

Overdose is also a risk of mixing medications. When two different medicines are taken together without the direction of a physician, doses can be difficult to manage, increasing the person’s likelihood of overdosing.

Prescription drug overdoses often accidentally occur when someone drinks alcohol or takes other medications when one is already present in their system. However, people who want to experience a high from their medications may mix drugs with doing so.

Signs of a tramadol and gabapentin overdose may include:

  • Black or blue lips
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Pale and clammy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Gurgling
  • Slow heart rate
  • Undetectable pulse
  • Difficulty breathing

If you recognize the symptoms of a tramadol and gabapentin overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. Depressant overdoses are fatal because of their impact on the individual’s breathing, which can be avoided if medical assistance is received immediately.

Finding Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

Just because a doctor prescribes medications doesn’t mean you can take them any way you’d like. Increasing your dose, mixing them with other drugs, and even taking them in ways you aren’t supposed to (crushing pills and snorting them) is considered abuse.

Long-term drug abuse can have a horrible impact on your liver, kidneys, heart, and brain. In addition to addiction, toxicity and overdose can also occur when medications are taken together without direction, which can be fatal.

If you find yourself unable to control your use of your prescription drugs or you use them in ways you shouldn’t, you may need help. Banyan Treatment Centers offers addiction treatment in Massachusetts for all kinds of substance use disorders. We also offer various therapy treatments to address the underlying emotional and contributing mental factors of addiction.

Need help with drug or alcohol abuse? Call Banyan Massachusetts, today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our levels of substance abuse treatment.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Can You Take Tramadol with Gabapentin?
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