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Tramadol and Alcohol

Combining alcohol and tramadol (Ultram) can potentially be dangerous. Because both substances are central nervous system depressants, they can slow down brain function. This can cause serious side effects, such as seizures, difficulty breathing, or memory problems. You may also be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and may not be able to drink as much as you have been able to drink in the past.

Can I Combine Alcohol and Tramadol?

Alcohol and tramadol hydrochloride (Ultram®) are both central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants). This means they both can slow down brain function. In addition, both substances can cause respiratory depression (shallow or infrequent breathing). Drinking alcohol while taking this medication may increase your risk for serious reactions. This is why combining the two is not recommended.

The Effects of Alcohol on Tramadol Side Effects

Drinking alcohol while taking tramadol may increase your risk of certain tramadol side effects, such as:
  • Seizures
  • Unusual behavior
  • Memory problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with coordination
  • Shallow or infrequent breathing
  • Passing out.
You may also be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol if you are taking tramadol. You may not be able to safely drink as much alcohol as you are used to drinking. According to the prescribing information for this medication, people who are intoxicated with alcohol should not take tramadol.
While people are advised to avoid alcohol while taking this drug, you should not stop taking tramadol or stop drinking alcohol abruptly. People who are withdrawing from alcohol ("detoxing") are at a higher risk of seizures due to tramadol. Also, stopping tramadol abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms (see Tramadol Withdrawal). Do not attempt to detox from either tramadol or alcohol (or both) by yourself, as these are complicated situations that require the skills and knowledge of a qualified healthcare provider.
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