Four questions about tramadol addiction

Tramadol is a very popular drug because of its effectiveness. However, its consumption runs the risk of addiction. How do you know if you are addicted to tramadol? How to successfully wean? Dr. Sarah Coscas, addicted, answers questions.

Dr. Charlotte Tourmente

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Four questions about tramadol addiction

In 2019, the National Medicines Agency warns of French opioid use, grouping drugs and medicines that have the same effects on opium. Tramadol has doubled its consumption between 2004 and 2017.

“It’s an explosion of opioid addictions through often analgesic, clinical findings”Dr. Sarah Coscas, an addictologist, begins right away. „Tramadol is one of the opiates, by definition very addictive substances.. “

What are the symptoms of tramadol addiction?

The first sign of an addiction is loss of control. The person can no longer do without tramadol, the number of prescribed tablets is no longer respected. “Another very important element is the increase in doses, called the phenomenon of tolerance, car aAfter a while, the treatment doesn’t work anymore “, resumes Dr. Coscas. “The person he gradually loses interest in his daily activities and may have depression. “

Another sign of addiction: the appearance of pain.These are pain related to lack even though the initial pain is no longer there. Other signs include tremors, sweating, hot sensation, runny nose, or diarrhea.. ”

At the notion of duration is also a reward in the addictive account, according to a specialist. For example, taking a few weeks of tramadol after surgery is not a concern. If it lasts, it becomes so.

Dr. Coscas recommends doctors to prevent once every prescription and to prevent patients. The latter have been obliged to renew their membership every 3 months since 2020, in order to limit the risk of abuse.

Also read: Tramadol, a risky drug

What are the factors that increase the risk of addiction?

Having or having had another addiction increases the risk of addictionsays Dr. Coscas.

Just like a psychiatric history, such as depression or anxiety, or misuse, with a poorly prescribed medication, for mild pain. ”

The longer the dose, the higher the dose, the greater the risk.

Can children become addicted?

Tramadol can be prescribed for children over 3 years of age, for severe pain or not being relieved by paracetamol or ibuprofen.

According to Dr. Coscas, “rather, children suffer from behavioral addiction, for example on screens. More of an addiction is a possible potential. ”

“A outside the hospital, except for sickle cell crises or severe and extremely painful pathologies, no morphine was used (Editor’s note: Tramadol is a weak morphine, less potent than morphine) “, reassure Prof. Robert Cohen, Pediatrician. “Tramadol cannot be given before the age of 3 and 80% of consultations for children under 3 years of age. ”

Health authorities are warning about the risk of overdose, sometimes fatal, in children, but not the risk of addiction. Yet adolescents are at risk for abuse, addiction, or voluntary dose escalation.

Also read : Five things to know about tramadol in children

How is tramadol addiction managed?

When tramadol is stopped abruptly, it exposes you to withdrawal symptoms and a rebound effect. In other words, the pain temporarily increases when stopping treatment. It is recommended to reduce the doses, in a accompanied and gradual way, due to a decrease of 5 to 10% every one to 4 weeks, depending on the patient.

The older the plug, the slower it should be. Dr. Coscas.

Symptomatic treatment may be suggested for withdrawal signs, such as paracetamol or phloroglucinol. Non-medical care is preferred, with treatments to improve comfort, such as relaxation, hot baths when there are muscle aches, hypnosis.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy is intended for the first time. “, resumes the addictologist. “It is based on motivational interviews. We also work on the false beliefs that sustain addiction, such as sleeping well with tramadol, when there is no deep sleep, that one is numb and that there are disorders of to memory. ”

According to the review Prescribe“Withdrawal requires strong patient motivation and justifies prolonged support.”

If withdrawal is repeated or doses or prices may continue to increase, replacement therapy, such as buprenorphine, may be offered in a medical setting.

Tramadol, without a prescription
Le Magazine de la Santé – France 5

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