Tramadol is the generic name of an opiate analgesic with additional SNRI used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. Vicodin, the brand name for hydrocodone+acetaminophen, is also used to relieve moderate to severe pain and is a narcotic painkiller with a risk of dependency and abuse. Neither Tramadol nor Vicodin is available over the counter.
|Generic name||Tramadol||Acetaminophen and hydrocodone|
|Dosage||100 mg once daily, titrated up as necessary by 100 mg increments every 5 days to relieve pain; not to exceed 300 mg a day.||1-2 every 4 to six hours, as needed|
|Side effects||Dizziness, weakness, sleepiness, insomnia, headache, nervousness, uncontrollable shaking muscle tightness, changes in mood, heartburn/indigestion, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, sweating, dry mouth||Dizziness, drowsiness, mild nausea, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth, headache, mood changes, ringing in ears|
|Class of Drugs||Opiate analgesic||Opiate analgesic|
|Uses||Moderate to severe pain relief||Moderate to severe pain relief|
|Addiction||Prone to dependence||Addictive|
|Overdose||May lead to unconsciousness or coma||Can lead to liver damage and death|
|Other brand names||Conzip, Rybix ODT, Rysolt, Ultram, Ultram ER, Ultracet||Anexsia, Co-Gesic, Hycet, Liquicet, Lorcet, Maxidone, Norco, Polygesic, Stagesic, Xodol, Zemicet, Zolvit, Zydone|
Tramadol is an opiate analgesic with additional serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibiting effects. Tramadol is the drug found under brand names Conzip, Rybix ODT, Rysolt, Ultram, Ultram ER and Ultracet. It comes in the following forms: 50 mg immediate-release tablets; 50 mg orally disintegrating tablets; 100 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg extended-release tablets; and 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg extended-release capsules.
Vicodin is the brand name for hydrocodone/acetaminophen, a narcotic pain killer used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Other brands containing hydrocodone/acetaminophen are Hycet, Lorcet, Lorcet Plus, Lortab, Maxidone, Norco, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Zamicet and Zydone. Vicodin comes in the forms of tablet, capsule, syrup, solution, extended-release (long-acting) capsule and extended-release (long-acting) suspension (liquid).
How They Work
Tramadol is a serotonin releaser and reuptake inhibitor of norepinephrine. This means the drug decreases the brain's perception of pain. Tramadol can be habit-forming and prone to dependence or abuse. This video touches upon how Tramadol works, its effects and abuse:
Vicodin is a semi-synthetic narcotic, opioid pain reliever. It changes the way the brain responds to pain.
Directions for Use
Both Tramadol and Vicodin are to be taken by mouth every four to six hours, with or without food – food is helpful to alleviate nausea.
Tramadol's maximum dosage is 400 milligrams per day. Vicodin's maximum dosage goes according to the acetaminophen level in the pills, not to exceed 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen.
Both Tramadol and Vicodin have a time release of 20 to 30 minutes and can be habit-forming. Vicodin may also cause false positive results in lab tests.
Both Tramadol and Vicodin should be stored at room temperature away from excess heat and moisture. They have a shelf life of three years.
According to a randomized, double-blind study  comparing the efficacy of tramadol with hydrocodone-acetaminophen in acute musculoskeletal pain, it was seen that tramadol is not as effective an analgesic as hydrocodone-acetaminophen.
Medical History Precautions
Specific medical histories should be revealed to doctors before taking Tramadol or Vicodin, specifically brain disorders such as head injury, tumor or seizures; breathing problems, such as asthma, sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD; kidney disease; liver disease; mental/mood disorders, such as confusion, depression or suicidal thoughts; personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol; stomach/intestinal problems, such as blockage, constipation, diarrhea due to infection or paralytic ileus; and difficulty urinating, such as due to enlarged prostate.
Overdose symptoms of Tramadol include decreased size of the pupil, difficulty breathing, extreme drowsiness, unconsciousness, coma, slowed heartbeat, muscle weakness and cold or clammy skin.
People may also experience overdose with Vicodin. Symptoms of overdose include narrowed or widened pupils; slow, shallow, or stopped breathing; slowed or stopped heartbeat; cold, clammy, or blue skin; excessive sleepiness; loss of consciousness; seizures and death.
Common, but not-serious side effects of Tramadol include dizziness, weakness, sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, headache, nervousness, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, muscle tightness, changes in mood, heartburn or indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, sweating and dry mouth. More serious side effects, which are rare, include seizures, fever, hives, rash, blisters, difficulty swallowing or breathing, hoarseness, hallucinations, agitation, loss of consciousness, lack of coordination, a fast heartbeat and swelling of the eyes, face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs.
Using Vicodin also carries with it certain side effects. Common, not-serious side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, fuzzy thinking, anxiety, abnormally happy or abnormally sad mood, dry throat, difficulty urinating, rash, itching and narrowing of the pupils. More serious but rare side effects include slowed or irregular breathing and chest tightness.
People who stop taking either Tramadol or Vicodin may experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms for both Tramadol and Vicodin include restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating and muscle aches.
Tramadol interacts with the following durgs:
- drugs that increase serotonin, such as dextromethorphan, lithium, St. John's wort, sibutramine
- street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy"
- certain antidepressants including SSRIs, such as citalopram and paroxetine
- SNRIs such as duloxetine and venlafaxine
- triptans used to treat migraine headaches, such as eletriptan and sumatriptan
- azole antifungals, such as itraconazole
- HIV drugs, such as ritonavir
- macrolide antibiotics, such as erythromycin
- rifamycins, such as rifampin
- drugs used to treat seizures, such as carbamazepine
- allergy or cough-and-cold products
- medicine for sleep or anxiety, such as alprazolam, diazepam or zolpidem
- muscle relaxants or other narcotic pain relievers.
Vicodin also interacts with:
- pain medications, especially mixed narcotic agonist/antagonists, such as pentazocine, nalbuphine and butorphanol
- narcotic antagonists, such as naltrexone
- MAO inhibitors, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline and tranylcypromine
- allergy and cold products
- anti-seizure drugs, such as phenobarbital; medicine for sleep or anxiety, such as alprazolam, diazepam and zolpidem
- muscle relaxants
- other narcotic pain relievers, such as morphine
- psychiatric medicines, such as risperidone, amitriptyline and trazodone.
- Tramadol - NIH.gov
- Tramadol-Acetaminophen Oral Uses and How to Use - HealthCentral
- Wikipedia: Tramadol
- Wikipedia: Hydrocodone/paracetamol
- Tramadol versus hydrocodone-acetaminophen in acute musculoskeletal pain: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial - NIH.gov
- Hydrocodone - NIH.gov
- Vicodin Oral Uses and How to Use - HealthCentral
- How Tramadol Works - Tramadol Facts