Ultram is a prescription pain reliever that’s available as a regular option for as-needed pain relief, as well as an extended-release version. People frequently wonder, is Ultram a narcotic or an opiate? Below we’ll go into what a narcotic and an opiate are, and answer the question as to what Ultram is classified as.

What Is a Narcotic?

Before exploring the answer to is Ultram a narcotic, what exactly is a narcotic? A narcotic was a term originally used to describe anything that had psychoactive elements and induced sleep. In the U.S. the term narcotic has become synonymous with opiates and opioids, such as morphine and heroin. The primary narcotics often referred to include morphine, codeine, and thebaine.

There are also legal implications of the term narcotic, and in these situations, it’s usually seen in a negative light. A narcotic in the legal sense in the U.S. is one that’s either completely illegal like heroin, or one that’s available only in certain circumstances, such as by prescription and under the supervision of a doctor. Narcotics, even when they’re available by prescription, are meant to be carefully regulated.

The federal law dictates a list of controlled substances that classifies narcotics based on their legality and whether or not they have medical applications in the U.S.

Some of the specific drugs that are classified as a narcotic in the U.S. include opiates and derivatives of opiates, cocaine, and drugs created through chemical synthesis. The history of the word narcotic dates back to the Greeks, and it referred to agents that numbed people or led to a loss of feeling. The term analgesic is also relevant when considering is Ultram a narcotic, because it’s an opioid analgesic. An analgesic is a term for any drug that relieves pain, and there are both non-narcotic analgesic and narcotic analgesics.

Ultram is a narcotic analgesic.

What is an Opiate?

An opiate is a classification of drugs that are derived from the poppy plant. Opiates have been in use for thousands of years, and some are derived directly from natural opium while others are synthesized or manufactured to replicate the chemical structure of opium. Opiates can include a range of prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

What all opiates have in common is the fact that they work to kill pain by slowing down the central nervous system.

There are three main groups within the larger category of opiates. They are natural opiate derivatives which include morphine, a second group of semi-synthetic opiates like oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then a third group of synthetic drugs like Fentanyl.

Synthetic opiates are also often referred to as opioids, and they impact the same parts of the brain as opium. Opioids are very commonly abused, despite the fact that most are available by prescription, and they have a high potential for addiction and physical dependence.

Is Ultram a Narcotic or an Opioid?

Ultram is a drug that contains the active ingredient tramadol. It’s a Schedule IV controlled substance, and it’s prescribed to relieve pain. It impacts the central nervous system to relieve pain and also to induce feelings of well-being and relaxation. Ultram is meant to treat pain that’s moderate to severe, and there’s an extended-release version of the medicine that can be used to treat chronic pain that’s ongoing.

Tramadol, which is the generic name of Ultram, is part of a group of medicines that are classified as opioid analgesics. It impacts the central nervous system to relieve pain, and it may lead to physical dependence when it’s used for a period of time. Some of the side effects of Ultram can include nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing and drowsiness.

So, is Ultram a narcotic? The answer is yes. Ultram is a narcotic and Ultram is also an opioid.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.