Tramadol vs. Percocet: Comparison for Pain Management
There are different pain medications available, and people often wonder what the differences are. Two commonly compared medicines are tramadol vs. Percocet. The following provides an overview of what each is, and also a comparison for pain management.
Tramadol is a synthetic drug, which means it’s made from chemical reactions in a laboratory, and it isn’t derived from opium like other true opioids.
In general, mostly tramadol is referred to as a semi-synthetic opioid, but its classification by the DEA is as a schedule IV drug. It was just recently added as a Schedule IV substance, and it’s often prescribed as an alternative to other opioids because it tends to be seen as having a better safety profile.
Regarding the structure and chemical makeup of Tramadol, it’s somewhat similar to codeine.
Despite the fact that tramadol isn’t as strictly a controlled substance, it is generally considered to be very effective at relieving pain, but it does carry the potential for abuse and addiction as well.
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When someone takes Percocet, it binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and floods the brain with dopamine, which creates euphoria. When this happens, your brain then determines that whatever triggered that euphoric and pleasurable feeling should be sought out again and again, which is why Percocet has the potential be so addictive. If you take Percocet exactly as prescribed, you’re at a lower risk of dependence and addiction, but it is still a possibility.
Percocet is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs, and when people take it without a prescription it is illegal, and it is inherently considered abuse of the drug. When people abuse Percocet, they experience strong cravings for the drug, and it depresses their central nervous system, which can lead to an overdose.
One of the ways there are differences when looking at tramadol vs. Percocet is in the fact that Percocet combines oxycodone, which is the opioid element of the drug, with acetaminophen, which is the generic name of Tylenol. This combination is meant to contribute to the maximum level of pain relief possible.
In terms of tramadol vs. Percocet and a comparison for pain management, both are very effective at providing pain relief, but they do it differently in some ways. They both work on the chemicals in the brain to influence how you perceive pain, but tramadol also can boost the mood of the user. Tramadol can not just bind to opioid receptors, but it also inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. Percocet works to lower pain perception in the brain, and that’s also paired with the pain fighting effects of acetaminophen.
- Some of the potential side effects of tramadol include congestion, sore throat, headache, flushing, itching, weakness, and seizures. Side effects of Percocet are similar to other opioids and can include low blood pressure and respiratory depression, gastric issues including constipation and confusion.
- Both tramadol and Percocet can lead to both mental and physical dependency, and both can also lead to withdrawal effects if you suddenly stop using them.
- Tramadol is available in several different forms including as a pill, extended release version, and a dissolving tablet. Percocet is only available as a pill and oral solution.
- Tramadol has more broad uses than Percocet including not just for acute pain, but also chronic pain and dental pain.
- Since Percocet contains acetaminophen which can cause liver damage, it’s not meant for people who drink or have liver issues.
So above are just a few things to consider when comparing tramadol vs. Percocet. Both are effective as pain relievers, and they do have some similarities in how they treat pain, but there are also quite a few significant differences in these prescription drugs as well.