Orally Disintegrating Tramadol
How Does Orally Disintegrating Tramadol Work?As the name implies, orally disintegrating tramadol contains tramadol, a drug that is classified as a "centrally acting opioid analgesic." This means that it works in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), acts much like morphine in the body, and relieves pain. And like morphine, orally disintegrating tramadol binds to certain opioid receptors in the body known as μ ("mu") receptors.
Orally disintegrating tramadol also works a little like some antidepressant medications by inhibiting the reuptake of certain brain chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine). These are two of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin or norepinephrine. The serotonin or norepinephrine enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin or norepinephrine reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin or norepinephrine that remains in the gap between cells; this is called "reuptake."
When and How to Take Orally Disintegrating TramadolGeneral considerations to keep in mind during treatment with orally disintegrating tramadol include the following:
- Orally disintegrating tramadol comes in the form of orally disintegrating tablets. It is usually taken two to four times per day.
- It can be taken with or without food.
- Do not chew, crush, or break the tablet. Instead, simply place the tablet on your tongue, where it will dissolve within a minute or so, and then swallow, with or without water.
- Do not drink alcohol while taking orally disintegrating tramadol.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose without your healthcare provider's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking orally disintegrating tramadol, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks (see Tramadol Withdrawal).