Product Informations

Tramadol information

How and when to take tramadol


Follow your doctor’s instructions about how to use this medicine. This is particularly important because tramadol can be addictive.

Dosage and strength

Tramadol comes as:

  • standard tablets – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • slow-release tablets – these contain 50mg, 75mg, 100mg, 150mg, 200mg, 300mg or 400mg of tramadol
  • standard capsules – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • slow-release capsules – these contain 50mg, 100mg, 150mg or 200mg of tramadol
  • drops that you swallow – this contains 100mg of tramadol in 1ml of liquid
  • soluble tablets – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • tablets that dissolve in the mouth (orodispersible) – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • an injection (usually given in hospital)

Tramadol drops, injections and some tablets and capsules will start to work within 30 to 60 minutes. They’re used for pain that is expected to last for only a short time. You may be told to take this type of tramadol only if you need it for pain that can come and go.

Dosages vary from person to person. Your doctor will decide the right dose for you, depending on how sensitive you are to pain, how bad your pain is, how you responded to previous painkillers and if you get any side effects.

Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you. In general, you will be prescribed the lowest dose that relieves your pain.

How to take it

How to take standard tablets and capsules

Swallow each tablet or capsule whole with a glass of water.

How to take drops

Mix the drops into a glass of water then drink the whole contents of the glass.

How to take soluble tablets

Dissolve each tablet in a drink of water (more than a mouthful or a sip) and drink

How to take tablets that dissolve in the mouth

Make sure your hands are dry before handling the tablet. Pop the tablet out of its pack and put it on your tongue. Suck the tablet, do not chew it. After it has melted, swallow or have a drink of water. You can also dissolve the tablet in a glass of water if you prefer.

How to take slow-release tablets and capsules

It’s important to swallow slow-release tramadol tablets and capsules whole with a drink of water.

Slow-release tablets and capsules release the medicine into your body over either 12 or 24 hours. This type of tramadol takes longer to start working but lasts longer. It’s used for long-term pain.


Do not break, crush, chew or suck slow-release tablets and capsules. If you do, the slow-release system will not work and the whole dose might get into your body in one go. This could cause an overdose, which can be dangerous.

When to take tramadol

When to take it depends on the type of tramadol that you have been prescribed:

  • standard tablets and capsules – usually 3 to 4 times a day
  • drops – usually 3 to 4 times a day
  • slow-release tablets and capsules – usually once or twice a day

If you’re 65 or over, or you have liver or kidney problems, your doctor may ask you to take tramadol less often.

You can take your tramadol at any time of day but try to take it at the same time every day, and space your doses evenly. For example, if you take tramadol twice a day and have your first dose at 8am, take your second dose at 8pm.

How long to take it for

Depending on why you’re taking tramadol, you may only need to take it for a short time. For example, if you’re in pain after an injury or operation, you may only need to take tramadol for a few days or weeks at most.

You may need to take it for longer if you have a long-term condition.

Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure how long you need to take tramadol for.

If you forget to take it

This will depend on which type of tramadol you are taking.

If you forget to take a dose, check the information inside the packaging or ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice on what to do.

Never take 2 doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.

If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

Stopping tramadol

If you need to take tramadol for a long time your body can become used to it.

This is not usually a problem but you could get unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly.

If you want to stop taking tramadol, talk to your doctor first. Your dose will usually be reduced gradually so you do not get withdrawal effects.

Tramadol can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you come off it suddenly, such as:

  • feeling agitated
  • feeling anxious
  • shaking
  • sweating


If you have been taking tramadol for more than a few weeks, do not stop taking it without speaking to your doctor first.

If you take too much

It’s important not to take more than your prescribed dose, even if you think it’s not enough to relieve your pain. Speak to your doctor first if you think you need a different dose.

Taking too much tramadol can be dangerous.

If you’ve taken too much, you may feel very sleepy, sick or dizzy. You may also find it difficult to breathe. In serious cases you can become unconscious and may need emergency treatment in hospital.

The amount of tramadol that can lead to an overdose is different for everyone.

If you’ve taken 1 extra dose, check the information that comes with the medicine packaging or ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice. Generally, you are unlikely to get any symptoms from 1 extra dose and you can take your next dose as usual.

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