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Tramadol and Vicodin Comparison

Differences between Tramadol and Vicodin

The interesting thing about Tramadol is that it provides much the same effect as morphine and hydrocodone, with the latter being a key component of Vicodin. Because of the similarities but also differences, many people become confused as to what Tramadol really is, how it works, and who it benefits. Since there is some misinformation and confusion, we wanted to take the opportunity to offer insight specifically in regards to the differences between Tramadol and Vicodin.

Brief Introduction to Tramadol

As a means of providing information specific to the differences between Tramadol and Vicodin, we provided a brief introduction to each. For starters, Tramadol is a prescribed medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. What makes this particular drug so unique is that it works in much the same way as Morphine and Hydrocodone (Vicodin) but yet it is non-narcotic. That does mean there is no risk of addiction or dependency just that the risk level is extremely low.

Tramadol is sold under several brand names to include ConZip, Rybix ODT, Ryzolt, Ultram, and Ultram ER. In addition, this medication is available in a variety of delivery systems although tablet and capsule are the most common. One of the key benefits to doctors prescribing Tramadol is that most people tolerate it quite well. However, there are certain people and occasions in which this drug should not be taken to include the following:

  • Pregnant or nursing women
  • History of illicit drug or alcohol addiction
  • History of suicide attempt
  • Under the influence of illicit drugs, alcohol, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives
  • Taking medication for anxiety, depression, or some other form of mental health
  • History of kidney or liver disease
  • History of kidney disease (or on dialysis), any type of stomach disorder, or cirrhosis, as well as other types of liver disease

When Tramadol is taken as prescribed, most people have favorable results and few, if any side effects.

Brief Introduction to Vicodin

Similar to Tramadol, Vicodin is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. This medication is also available in several different delivery systems, again with capsules and tablets being the most common. Unlike Tramadol, there is risk of addiction and dependency with Vicodin since this medication is comprised of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, with the latter being an opioid or narcotic. However, this risk increases since the acetaminophen found in Vicodin works to enhance the effects of the hydrocodone.

Although there can be side effects relating to Tramadol, as mentioned most people have few, if any problems with this drug. In comparison, side effects associated with Vicodin are commonly experienced. The most critical is that it can impair a person's thinking ability, judgment, and reactive response. Because of this, there is a firm warning given to anyone who takes Vicodin not to drive, operate machinery, or make critical decisions.

Some of the specific people and scenarios in which Vicodin should never be taken have been listed below:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, which can actually increase the risk of liver damage
  • Consume more than three alcoholic drinks daily

History of a respiratory disorder to include COPD, asthma, and sleep apnea, among others

  • History of kidney disease (or on dialysis), any type of stomach disorder, or cirrhosis, as well as other types of liver disease
  • Under the influence of illicit drugs, alcohol, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives
  • History of head tumor or trauma
  • History of intestinal or stomach disorder
  • Low blood pressure
  • Scoliosis
  • History of mental illness
  • Addison's disease or other adrenal gland condition
  • Pregnancy (FDA is still conducting research to determine the effects of Vicodin on an unborn fetus)

It cannot be stressed enough that Vicodin being a narcotic type drug is addictive and people do become dependent. For this reason, it is essential to work closely with a reputable doctor and to always follow the prescribed dose exactly as ordered.

Summary

By providing information on both of these drugs, it becomes clear that there are distinct differences between Tramadol and Vicodin. In summary, Tramadol for the most part is non-addictive whereas Vicodin is highly addictive. While still important, there are fewer restrictions regarding the people and circumstances for which Tramadol is taken compared to a much longer list of restrictions for Vicodin. Finally, while there is slight risk of side effects for Tramadol, most people tolerate this drug well. However, Vicodin can cause a number of side effects but also health risks.

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