Ultram Pain Reliever

Ultram is a type of narcotic-like oral pain reliever that is often prescribed to treat lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and related conditions. Ultram, also known as tramadol, was approved by the FDA in 1998 and acts centrally (in the brain) to modulate the sensation of pain.

It is not an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) nor does it have the anti-inflammatory effect of an NSAID. Its mechanism of action is similar to acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), but Ultram is a stronger pain reliever than acetaminophen and has a weak narcotic effect.

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While Ultram is technically a narcotic or opioid pain medication, it is different from typical narcotics in that patients do not build up a tolerance with extended usage and there is a very low incidence of addiction. With other narcotics there is a general tendency to escalate the dosage of the medicine with time and a chance of addiction. The narcotic effect of Ultram is not as strong as the narcotic agents in other common pain medications, such as Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Oxycontin and Percocet (Oxycodone).