As a narcotic analgesic, tramadol affects the nervous system and brain concerning pain. Tramadol is commonly used to manage moderate-to-severe pain conditions, including chronic pain. 

A capsule, a tablet, and a solution of the product are available under the brand names Ultram, Ultram ER, Ryzolt, and ConZip. The extended-release tablets or capsules are recommended for chronic ongoing pain and should not be used for short-term relief.

A physician may prescribe tramadol for pain in a dosage of 50 mg to 100 mg (immediate-release tablets) every four to six hours as needed. The maximum daily dose is 400 mg. Patients may be started at 25 mg and have their dose increased over time.

Like all narcotic analgesics, tramadol can only be obtained under a restricted distribution program known as Opioid Analgesic REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy). According to the U S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this program is one of several national and state efforts to reduce the risks of overdose, abuse, misuse, and addiction associated with prescription opioid analgesics.

What Are Tramadol’s Side Effects?

In case you experience any side effects, make sure you know about them. These are typically not severe and are usually well tolerated.

  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Itching or skin rash
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Skin on the neck, arms, face, and upper chest may be red
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling unusually cold
  • General not feeling well
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Feeling warm

What Is Hydrocodone?

What Is Hydrocodone?

As an opioid analgesic, hydrocodone is most commonly prescribed to treat severe chronic pain or severe pain associated with injury or surgery. It is available in extended-release capsules and extended-release tablet forms. 

A doctor may prescribe hydrocodone if an individual cannot tolerate opioid pain relievers or finds that other pain-relieving medications are inadequate in alleviating severe pain. It is usually recommended to take extended-release capsules once every 12 hours, and extended-release tablets are usually taken once a day.

It is possible to purchase hydrocodone as Vicodin HO, Lorcet, Lortab, and others when it is combined with acetaminophen.

What Are the Side Effects of Hydrocodone?

A few commonly reported side effects should be noted in case they need to be eased. These include:

  • Malaise
  • Constipation
  • Fainting
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Low blood pressure
  • Generalized weakness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol: What’s the Difference?

Before deciding which prescription painkiller to ask your doctor to prescribe, it is essential to note and understand the differences between these two drugs. Tramadol is a pain reliever with just one active ingredient, while Vicodin is a combination pain reliever, fever reducer, and cough suppressant.

Tramadol is a milder painkiller than hydrocodone, and it is, therefore, typically used in cases of less severe pain.

Hydrocodone is not available in generic form, while tramadol is. Hydrocodone can be taken for severe coughs in adults because it reduces the activity in the brain that causes coughing. Tramadol comes in immediate-release doses, while hydrocodone only comes in combination products like Vicodin with acetaminophen.

The side effects of tramadol are different from those of hydrocodone:

  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Flushing
  • Itching
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Seizures (though rare)

Although hydrocodone has side effects, they are different from those of oxycodone:

  • Gastric obstruction
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory obstruction

There are, however, some similarities between the two drugs’ side effects:

  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness

The Different Uses of Tramadol and Vicodin 

As previously mentioned, tramadol is typically prescribed to alleviate mild to moderate pain. Besides mild to severe pain from injury or surgery, Vicodin can also be prescribed for coughing caused by lung cancer or specific types of coughing. Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Is Tramadol Better or Worse Than Vicodin?

This question can be answered differently depending on why someone takes tramadol or Vicodin.


In spite of its less potent potency, tramadol is an opioid-like medication. Despite not containing opioids, it binds to the same opioid receptors as Vicodin and hydrocodone. To prevent nausea, it’s best to have food in your stomach before taking the drug. It doesn’t cause sedation or euphoria. 

A mild withdrawal effect occurs when tramadol is withdrawn, and it usually becomes habit-forming if misused or abused. Tramadol is usually prescribed to treat moderate pain and chronic conditions, such as severe osteoarthritis.


Often prescribed for moderate to severe pain, Vicodin is formulated with hydrocodone, an opioid, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). It can make some people feel sedated and/or euphoric when consumed. You should take Vicodin after eating something substantial. When taken on an empty stomach, you may experience nausea and vomiting. Vicodin is a powerful painkiller. Additionally, it can be addictive and habit-forming. Withdrawal symptoms are more severe than those of tramadol.

How Do Tramadol and Hydrocodone Compare?

How Do Tramadol and Hydrocodone Compare?

Compared to these two prescription medications, it is important to know that hydrocodone has a greater potency. In addition, tramadol is likely to manage pain better overall in comparison to hydrocodone.

Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone and Tramadol

Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone and Tramadol

There is no good reason to take tramadol and hydrocodone at the same time. Mixing these two painkillers can cause sedation, a slow heart rate, and a slow respiratory rate. Although both drugs are prescribed hours apart and certainly not at the same time, there are unique medical circumstances when they are taken simultaneously.

Is Tramadol or Hydrocodone Better for Pain Management?

Is Tramadol or Hydrocodone Better for Pain Management?

There is little potential for abuse with tramadol because it is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance, as defined by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

There is no question that Vicodin is a Schedule II controlled substance, indicating that it has a high abuse potential and may result in serious psychological or physical dependence. It is crucial to remember this when looking at what people can expect from the drug.

There is no difference between the two drugs when it comes to pain management. Tramadol, although less powerful than hydrocodone, can be used to alleviate pain for chronic pain conditions. The dosage prescribed may help alleviate pain for chronic pain patients. Tramadol, however, may not be beneficial to everyone.

If you need pain relief, hydrocodone is a strong opioid medication that can help. Vicodin is also a strong opioid that can help, but for a short period of time only.

There is a possibility that both drugs can cause mental and physical dependence and addiction. A person’s dependence can be determined by how they use the drugs and when withdrawal symptoms are experienced when the drugs are abruptly stopped. When drugs are misused or abused, and despite negative consequences occurring, the individual engages in compulsive drug-seeking behavior, addiction can occur.

In order to manage pain, one should speak with a physician about the available medications. One drug may be more effective for someone than another, and vice versa.

Addiction to Tramadol or Hydrocodone

Addiction to Tramadol or Hydrocodone

What are the symptoms of tramadol and hydrocodone dependency? How can you get help for yourself or someone you care about? Addiction is when a person cannot stop using the substance despite adverse effects. A person dependent on a substance needs more and more of it to feel the same effects.

Those who abuse tramadol will get high and feel euphoric, which can lead to addiction. By crushing the tablet and inhaling the powder or mixing it with water, people who abuse tramadol will be able to get high faster. Those who misuse the drug may take more than prescribed.

It is possible to become addicted to hydrocodone in the same way, although this drug is potent and may require less of it to feel the sedative or euphoric effects. It is also very potent and can be abused.

The prescribing doctor may taper the dosage down to a smaller amount and eventually take you off the drug safely and completely if you become dependent or addicted to tramadol or hydrocodone. It is possible to find the root cause of your addiction and guide you toward living a drug-free life if you find that you have become addicted to the drug. There are evidence-based treatment programs available to help you.

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