As with most drug dependencies, tramadol detox and withdrawal is best managed through medical detox. It is not recommended to stop taking the drug suddenly and without the help of a medical professional. In a medical detox, an individual will have access to a high level of care and 24 hour monitoring. As withdrawal symptoms increase, the desire to keep taking the drug will intensify. Depression and cravings can be managed with the help of medication during detox.
There are three types of medication approved by the FDA for opioid withdrawal: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications can help manage drug cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Each one has beneficial properties that are helpful during detox in different ways.
Methadone: This medication acts as a substitution for tramadol, keeping withdrawal symptoms from starting, as it is a longer acting medication. However, it should be used cautiously because it is still an opioid and has potential for dependency as well.
Buprenorphine: Like methadone, this medication also fills opioid receptors in the brain for a longer period of time, however, it doesn’t activate the receptors in the same manner. It can minimize withdrawal symptoms and at the same time not create a feeling of being high, like other drugs. Buprenorphine is also designed to plateau, so that if more than the recommended dose it taken, it will no longer produce any effect. This can help reduce the risk for abuse of this medication. There are four types of buprenorphine products approved by the FDA for opioid dependency treatment: Suboxone, Zubsolv, Bunavail and Subutex. These all contain buprenorphine and naloxone. If abused, withdrawal symptoms may be triggered by naloxone, thereby acting as a deterrent. These products containing naloxone are optimal when used after the initial stages of detox and may be helpful to prevent relapse.
Naltrexone: Once tramadol is fully removed from the body and during early withdrawal, naltrexone will block opioid receptors from being activated by opioid drugs. Naltrexone products are labelled as Depade, ReVia and Vivitrol.
A variety of these medications or supplements may be used during medical detox for specific withdrawal symptoms. It is common for mood-enhancing medications or antidepressants to be used during detox to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It is warned by the DEA that tramadol should not be combined with any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) or monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. This can cause a risk of serotonin syndrome which can cause convulsions, muscle pain or rigidity and hyperthermia.
Medical management can be very helpful in easing the withdrawal symptoms of tramadol and create physical stability. Other therapeutic tools can help with stress, drug cravings and mood control also. A balanced combination of medications, therapeutic and support techniques are the best way to treat substance use disorders, dependence and addiction.