When it comes to pain management, you really have to be careful choosing the right pain medication. Of course, the best thing is to ask your doctor. However, it does not hurt to have some knowledge about the medication yourself. In this article, we shall compare Tramadol Vs. Oxycodone.
Both are powerful pain relievers and can be used to treat moderate to severe pains. Yet, there are some fundamental differences between Tramadol and Oxycodone. While Oxycodone is a pure opioid, Tramadol is an opioid-like medication.
Tramadol Vs. Oxycodone: Production
Oxycodone comes directly from the opioid flower. It is a natural opioid. The tablets or the liquid produced by the pharmaceutical companies are just concentrated versions so the dosage may be controlled.
How they work in the body
Since Oxycodone is a natural opioid, it goes directly to the opioid receptors in our brain (The Central Nervous System). It produces a calming effect. It also disrupts the pain signals sent by the nerves to the brain. In other words, it alters the perception of the brain about pain.
Conversely, since Tramadol is not a naturally derived opioid, it actually requires a little help. Once in the digestive tract, our liver needs to release an enzyme that reacts to Tramadol to produce a chemical called M1. This M1 can then be accepted by our opioid receptors in the brain.
Tramadol Vs. Oxycodone: Overdose Issues
Oxycodone has the possibility of an overdose in low quantities. 200-250 mg can cause an overdose in some. Since it is a direct opioid, it has to be taken really cautiously.
On the other hand, Tramadol is indirect. It requires a little processing time in the body (by the liver) to be activated. Therefore, up to 400mg is still safe. Probably 900-100mg will cause an overdose for an average adult.
Direct opioids are always dangerous. Addiction can happen within a few days of the use of Oxycodone. Tramadol, on the other hand, may take a while. Tramadol was actually an Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication before.
Because it has to be processed in the body by the liver, Tramadol is more like Endorphin, which is a naturally occurring numbing agent in the body. Therefore, it is not that addictive. It may take months before Tramadol gets addictive.
Oxycodone is a Schedule I controlled substance in the USA while Tramadol is Schedule IV.
Usage and Differences
If we go through a normal medical procedure, after a serious accident or a major surgery, the patient is given morphine drips via IV. After a while (a day or two depending on the type of surgery), the patient is switched to a direct opioid-like Oxycodone.
However, it is not a good idea to continue Oxycodone for a long time due to its addictive nature. But since the pain is still there, the patient can be switched to Tramadol. This is called a Step-Down medication.
Tramadol can be taken for months at a time with some other non-opioid supplement like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. There are also opioid types of step-down medications like Roxicodone (Oxycodone–Acetaminophen), but since oxycodone is still there, they may be addictive. Using Tramadol with Acetaminophen is a lot safer as a long-term solution.
Additionally, as Tramadol is a lot safer, it can also be used for common pains like headaches, toothaches, menstrual pains, back pain, and chronic osteoarthritis.
It is always advisable to get a doctor’s opinion when it comes to pain management. A professional will always know what is best and can monitor how the patients react to medications.
This concludes our Tramadol Vs. Oxycodone article.