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Tramadol and Alcohol: The Side Effects

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by James Rooks (alias)

Many high school and college students probably don’t realize it, but combining painkillers and alcohol can be a deadly cocktail.  It seems that this age group is prone to taking more risks and it has become more common to find a wide assortment of prescription drugs, along with beer, wine and hard liquor, at these parties.  In fact, prescription drugs have taken the place of many street drugs because they are so easy to come across these days.  However, just because prescription drugs are legal, it doesn’t mean that they are safe for everyone.  Prescription drugs are meant to be taken by the person that they were prescribed to and most prescription drugs should not be taken if you are consuming alcohol.

Many people that choose to take painkillers and alcohol don’t realize the risks involved with this decision.  I know the risks and I have seen the unfortunate results first hand.  My freshman year in college, I went to a house party with a bunch of my friends from the dorm.  We were all having a great time and we were probably drinking a little more beer than we should’ve.  My friend ran into an old high school classmate and this guy gave him some of his Tramadol pain relief medication.  Apparently his friend recently had a car accident and he was prescribed Tramadol for his back pain.  My friend had never tried mixing Tramadol and alcohol, but he was already drunk and he decided to throw caution to the wind and he swallowed two Tramadol tablets with a drink from his beer.

Well, it didn’t take long before my friend could barely stand up.  We weren’t sure what the Tramadol side effects were because none of us had ever taken it before, but my friend was having a hard time breathing and he fainted.  We carried him outside to get him some fresh air and noticed that he was sweating and he felt like he had a fever.  That is when my friends and I decided to call for help.  We explained to the EMT that our friend had mixed Tramadol and alcohol and that is why he passed out.  We felt terrible watching our friend get taken away in an ambulance and we knew that he would feel awful once he figured out what happened.

The next day, I did a little research myself on Tramadol and alcohol.  To be honest, I was pretty upset over this whole incident and I was also mad at the guy that gave my friend the Tramadol in the first place.  He knew that my friend was already drunk and he probably also knew that Tramadol shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol.  Tramadol alcohol, these are just two things that should never be combined.

As I continued my research of Tramadol and alcohol, I started to realize why these two should not be combined.  Tramadol and alcohol have very similar effects on the body.  When Tramadol is prescribed and is taken without alcohol, it can lead to lightheadedness and trouble breathing.  In my experience with alcohol, I know that I sometimes get lightheaded and also start breathing much more deeply than normal.  So, when you combine Tramadol and alcohol, it really brings out those effects that much quicker and often times, the person won’t know what hit them, they simply faint.  That is exactly what happened to my friend.  I didn’t quite understand why someone would even want to combine Tramadol and alcohol because, in reality, Tramadol gives you some of the same positive feelings that you get when you drink alcohol.  I wondered to myself why anyone would need to combine the two when they give the user such similar effects.  To me, it just didn’t seem like it is worth the risk of combining Tramadol and alcohol.

My friend’s parents had to come and pick him up from the hospital that night.  He felt so embarrassed the next day and he was also quite upset with his friend who gave him the Tramadol.  He said that he talked to his friend and told him what happened and his friend felt terrible.  His friend had been taking Tramadol for 3 months so he was used to it and he admitted that he got sick the first time he combined Tramadol and alcohol.  He said that his body had built up a tolerance though and now he combines painkillers and alcohol on a regular basis.  He said that the Tramadol does really help with his back pain and his Doctor told him not to drink alcohol, but apparently he was willing to take that risk and is willing to put others at risk too by giving them Tramadol without a prescription.  I just hope that he figures out that the dangers of combining Tramadol and alcohol just aren’t worth it before he puts anyone else at risk!