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Is tramadol an opioid type drug?

asked Jun 3, 2012 by anonymous

1 Answer

0 votes
Yes, tramadol is a partial selective opioid. It has dual action. One mode of action of tramadol is via activating a mu-opioid receptor (one of several types of opioid receptors in the body). In that sense, it is similar to opiates. However, typical opiates like morphine or oxycodone activate all types of opioid receptors, not just one, and  tend to do so more strongly than tramadol.

The second mode of action of tramadol is via stimulation of release of serotonin and inhibition of reuptake of norepinephrine. This  mechanism of action is somewhat similar to that of certain antidepressants (e.g. Celexa) and quite different from opiates.

In the light of the above, the activity of tramadol overlaps with opiates but tends to produce fewer opioid side effects and has lower potential for addiction. Still, if one has been taking tramadol for a long time and then stops abruptly, there are likely to be withdrawal symptoms lasting for a week or more.
answered Jun 11, 2012 by bigbird (3,300 points)