Tramadol vs. Codeine
What are the differences in codeine vs. tramadol? Can you take codeine and tramadol together? These are frequently asked questions, and below are more details about both codeine and tramadol separately from one another, as well as how they compare.
Codeine is also prescribed as a cough suppressant, and it’s similar in many ways to morphine. In fact, when it reaches the brain a portion of codeine converts back to morphine. It then binds to the opioid receptors found in the brain, and in doing so, it changes how the user senses pain. It ultimately raises the user’s tolerance for pain, rather than alleviating the pain altogether.
Codeine is used in cough syrups and many combination medicines such as Tylenol 3, which combines codeine and acetaminophen to make each more effective as a pain reliever.
Codeine is intended to help with pain ranging from mild to moderate, and some of the symptoms of using it include drowsiness, nausea and slow breathing.
Codeine, as with other opioids, is a depressant of the central nervous system.
It is possible to feel high or a sense of euphoria when using codeine, particularly at higher doses, but this effect tends to be less pronounced as compared to many other stronger opioids.
Because codeine can make people feel high, it can become addictive.
It’s also possible to develop a physical dependence on codeine, so if you were to stop taking it suddenly, you would have withdrawal symptoms.
So, how do codeine and tramadol compare to one another?
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.
While many opioids are combined with other substances to increase effectiveness, they wouldn’t be combined with another opioid.
For example, codeine and tramadol wouldn’t be used together in a combination medicine because it could increase the risks and side effects including the possibility of an overdose occurring.
One of the biggest differences in codeine vs. tramadol is the fact that codeine is a naturally derived pain medicine, while tramadol is synthesized.
Have more questions about Codeine abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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