Oral vs Intravenous (IV) Delivery

Differences in Oral versus IV Tramadol

There are many reasons that Tramadol has become a popular prescription medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. For one thing, it works incredibly well for a wide range of illnesses and injuries. In addition, there are many different delivery methods used based on the situation. However, for sake of example, we wanted to focus specifically on differences relating to oral versus IV tramadol.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Tramadol is that while it produces effects very similar to morphine and codeine, it is classified as being a non-narcotic type drug. In addition, while treatment of pain is the primary reason so many doctors prescribe this particular medication, it has also been proven effective for reducing or alleviating symptoms associated with anxiety, phobias, and even depression.

We want to mention that while there is a long list of benefits associated with this drug, there are also some risks regardless of oral versus IV Tramadol delivery. For this reason, an individual should always work closely with a reputable doctor and then be responsible by following dosage instructions exactly as given.

Oral Delivery

In our discussion of oral versus IV Tramadol, we will start with oral delivery. Someone prescribed this medication has different choices to include the following:

  • Tablets and capsules for both regular and extended release
  • Tablets for regular, extended release, low residue, uncoated, and chewable
  • Tablets and capsules that contain acetaminophen or other agents
  • Effervescent powders and tablets
  • Liquids with or without alcohol used for sublingual and oral administration
  • Powders for compounding

Specific to common delivery system, most people are prescribed tablets or capsules. Then based on the specific illness or injury, as well as severity of pain, a doctor would determine the exact compound and dose that would work best.

Some examples of dosage often prescribed with Tramadol tablets and capsules include:

  • 50 mg HCI tablets whether immediate or extended release
  • 200 mg HCI tablets for extended release although other doses for this particular option include 100 and 300 mg strengths

Something else we wanted to mention specific to the topic of oral versus IV Tramadol is that in addition to oral tablets and capsules being used to treat pain over a period of time, it is highly effective for breakthrough pain as well. Other forms of Tramadol include ampules of sterile solution used for IV injections among other reasons, preservative-free solutions also used for different types of injections such as caudal, epidural, and intrathecal, and suppositories.

Intravenous (IV) Delivery

Before we talk about Tramadol being administered via IV, we want to note that this drug is injectable as well. For instance, to provide someone with quick pain relief, a doctor might administer 100 mgs in the form of an injection. According to experts, one of the primary differences between oral versus IV Tramadol is that intravenously, this drug is approximately 30% more potent. Some of the other key facts pertaining to the IV delivery system have been provided below:

  • Actual dose of IV Tramadol is adjusted according to the patient's type of pain, level of intensity, and sensitivity to this particular drug
  • IV Tramadol is only administered to adults and young people over the age of 16
  • In IV form, one ampule is injected - slowly at a rate of 1 ml per minute or it can be diluted on infusion
  • In IM form, one to four ampules is delivered. However, if the patient does not achieve pain relief after a dose of 50 to 100 mgs of active Tramadol, an additional 50 mg dose can be administered.
  • Based on the type and level of pain, effects of IV Tramadol typically last between four and eight hours
  • No more than 400 mgs are to be administered daily
  • It is imperative the IV Tramadol be administered slowly as mentioned. Administering this drug too quickly can cause unpleasant side effects to include nausea, excessive sweating, elevated body temperature, and/or drug rush among other things.


Although the reason for this drug is much the same, it is clear there are distinctions between oral versus IV Tramadol. The goal regardless of the delivery system is to produce relief for moderate to moderately severe pain associated with illness or injury. In addition, the various forms of Tramadol are used post-surgery, again with the purpose of providing a patient with much needed pain relief.

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