Menu Close

Forms of Tramadol

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Tramadol is prescription drug administered to help in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It is available in many different forms and also varies in the means in which it’s administered and frequency of dosage. The level of its effectiveness has been compared to morphine and should be closely monitored when prescribed, especially if the patient has a history of drug and/or alcohol addiction.

Higher levels of tramadol are equivalent in efficacy to lower dosages of morphine, administered intravenously, with moderate pain following surgery. However, when administered through an epidural, tramadol was one-thirtieth as potent as morphine. Tramadol may be administered orally, rectally, intravenously or intramuscularly.

Tramadol comes in many forms, including:

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Extended-release tablets
  • Extended-release capsules
  • Chewable tablets
  • Low-residue and/or uncoated tablets that can be taken by the sublingual and buccal routes
  • Suppositories
  • Effervescent tablets and powders
  • Ampoules of sterile solution for SC, IM and IV injection
  • Preservative-free solutions for injection by the various spinal routes (epidural, intrathecal, caudal and others)
  • Powders for compounding
  • Liquids both with and without alcohol for oral and sublingual administration, available in regular phials and bottles, dropper bottles, bottles with a pump similar to those used with liquid soap and phials with droppers built into the cap
  • Tablets and capsules containing (acetaminophen/APAP, aspirin and other agents

Tramadol has been experimentally used in the form of an ingredient in multi-agent topical gels, creams, and solutions for nerve pain, rectal foam, concentrated retention enemas, and a skin plaster (transdermal patch) quite similar to those used with lidocaine. Tramadol has a characteristic taste which is mildly bitter but much less so than morphine and codeine. Oral and sublingual drops and liquid preparations come with and without added flavoring.

Dosage of Tramadol Types

Tramadol capsules and melt tablets are taken by mouth up to six times a day depending on the severity of the pain and level of dosage. Tramadol melt tablets are designed to dissolve in the mouth without water and be swallowed with the saliva. Alternatively they can be dissolved in half a glass of water before taking. These forms of tramadol should not be taken more often than every four hours and you should not exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor.

For more prolonged pain relief, modified release forms of tramadol that can be taken once or twice a day are available. There are several different forms of tramadol tablets and capsules. Some are taken every four hours and some every eight hours. One is taken once a day and others can be taken up to twice a day.

The form in which it is taken will affect the time the medicine releases itself into the body also. Some tramadol brand names can have a ‘SR’ or ‘XR’ following them. The ‘SR’ stands for sustained released while ‘XR’ stands for extended release. The ‘XR’ form is very long acting while ‘SR’ is simply long acting. The maximum dosage for Tramadol in any form is 400 mg/day. Certain manufacturers or formulations have lower maximum doses.

How often you take it How long it lasts Brand names
Every 4 to 8 hours Short acting Tramal
Every 12 hours (twice a day) Long acting Tramal SR
Tramahexal SR
Tramedo SR
Zydol SR
Every 24 hours (once a day) Very long acting Durotram XR


Treatment Type for Various Conditions

Patient with doctor in exam roomTramadol has demonstrated efficacy in a few studies in the short-term treatment of chronic pain of various origins. Orally administered tramadol was found to be an effective pain reliever in step 2 of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for the treatment of patients with cancer pain.

Respiratory depression has been observed in only a few patients after tramadol infusion anesthesia. When used for pain relief during childbirth, intravenously administered tramadol did not cause respiratory depression in neonates. The tolerance and dependence potential of tramadol during treatment for up to six months appears to be low, although the possibility of dependence with long-term use cannot be entirely excluded.

Tramadol Addiction Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with a tramadol addiction, there is Tramadol abuse help. Please call our toll free number at 760.548.4032. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions on tramadol treatment addiction.