What is tramadol and acetaminophen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Ultracet is a combination of two drugs,
tramadol (Ultram) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) that is used to relieve moderate,
acute pain such as pain following dental or surgical procedures. Tramadol and
acetaminophen each relieve pain, but they do so by different mechanisms.
Tramadol achieves pain relief in two ways. It binds to the -opioid receptor on
nerves (the same mechanism that is responsible for the effectives of narcotics,
such as morphine), and it also inhibits the reuptake by nerves of two
neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine, that the nerves use to
communicate with one another. This inhibition may lead to reduced transmission
of pain signals from nerve to nerve in the spinal cord and brain. Acetaminophen
achieves pain relief in the spinal cord and brain by increasing the threshold to
pain, that is, by increasing the strength of the painful stimulus that is
necessary in order to give rise to the sensation of pain. It does this by
inhibiting an enzyme that makes prostaglandins. Ultracet was approved by the FDA
What brand names are available for tramadol and acetaminophen?
Do I need a prescription for tramadol and acetaminophen?
What are the side effects of tramadol and acetaminophen?
Ultracet usually is well-tolerated. The most common side
Because tramadol is chemically related to the narcotic class
of drugs such as morphine and hydrocodone (Vicodin ES, Anexsia,
Plus, Norco), it can cause psychological or physical dependence. Some patients
who received tramadol have reported seizures.
Abrupt withdrawal of tramadol may result in the following side effects:
An overdose of acetaminophen can result in severe liver damage.
Medically speaking, the term “myalgia” refers to what type of pain?
What is the dosage for tramadol and acetaminophen?
The usual dose of Ultracet is two tablets every four to six
hours as needed for the relief of pain. Patients should not take more than two
tablets at a time nor more than 8 tablets per day.
Which drugs or supplements interact with tramadol and acetaminophen?
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) or rifampin can increase
the rate of metabolic breakdown of tramadol, thus making tramadol less
effective. Concomitant administration of quinidine, fluoxetine (Prozac),
paroxetine (Paxil) and amitriptyline
(Elavil, Endep), ketoconazole
(Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric), or erythromycin may reduce
elimination of tramadol, increasing the risk for serious side effects from
Combining tramadol with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (for example,
Parnate), selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRIs, for example, fluoxetine [Prozac]), linezolid (Zyvox),
St. John’s wort, triptans (for example sumatriptan
may result in severe side effects such as
seizures or a condition called
serotonin syndrome. Tramadol may increase central nervous system and respiratory
depression when combined with alcohol, anesthetics, narcotics, tranquilizers, or
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Is tramadol and acetaminophen safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
What else should I know about tramadol and acetaminophen?
What preparations of tramadol and acetaminophen are available?
Tablets: tramadol, 37.5 mg and acetaminophen, 325 mg.
How should I keep tramadol and acetaminophen stored?
Ultracet should be stored at room temperature, between 15 and
30 C (59-86 F). It should be kept out of the reach of children.