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Tramadol Drug Class

As part of the "centrally acting opioid analgesic" drug class, tramadol hydrochloride (Ultram®) works in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), acts much like morphine in the body, and relieves pain. Tramadol also works in a similar manner as some antidepressant medications by inhibiting the reuptake of certain brain chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine).
Originally, tramadol was marketed as a medication with weak narcotic effects and little potential for abuse. As a result, many healthcare providers came to view the drug as relatively safe for use in people at risk for drug abuse, such as people with previous problems with drug or alcohol abuse. However, research has since demonstrated that tramadol works primarily through morphine-like activity, and numerous cases of abuse and dependence have been reported.
Tramadol is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it has some abuse potential, but not as much abuse potential as most other narcotic pain medications
(Click What Is Tramadol Used For? for a more in-depth look at the drug class of tramadol, including how this pain medication works and why it has a potential for abuse even though it is not generally classified as a controlled substance.)
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