There are similarities between codeine and tramadol. First and foremost, when comparing codeine vs. tramadol, you’ll see that both are opiates and narcotics. They can both be used to treat moderate pain, although tramadol is more potent than codeine.
Despite the fact that tramadol is more potent than codeine, both codeine and tramadol are considered less potent than opiates in general. This means that they may have less of a risk of addiction and withdrawal, but both can still lead to physical and psychological addiction and dependence.
Along with the possibility of addiction, both codeine and tramadol have similar side effects.
Common side effects of both can include sedation, dizziness, and constipation.
There are also similar interactions between codeine and tramadol. For example, you shouldn’t drink alcohol with either of these prescription medicines. If you drink alcohol with any opioid, including codeine or tramadol, it can lead to more profound central nervous system depression and breathing can become so slow that it’s at a dangerous or deadly level.
Both codeine and tramadol can affect pain sensation, the brain’s reward system, the gastrointestinal system, and respiratory functionality because of how they occupy the opioid receptors when they’re taken.
For the most part, both codeine and tramadol are considered relatively safe pain relievers, as long as they’re taken as instructed.
What about the differences in codeine vs. tramadol?
One of the primary differences is that codeine is made from the poppy plant, just like morphine. Tramadol is a synthesized opioid, which means it has a chemical structure that’s like codeine, but it’s made in a lab. Tramadol is also available in an extended-release version, for the management of continuous, chronic pain.
Overall, while tramadol might be helpful for more severe levels of pain, codeine has a more serious DEA controlled substances classification, meaning it’s believed to have a higher potential for abuse. At the same time, some medications that contain codeine along with other substances may have lower controlled substances classifications, depending on how much codeine they contain, meaning less of a potential for abuse.