What should I know about Ultracet before taking it?

Before you start using Ultracet (tramadol and acetaminophen), you should know that it is a prescription medication generally prescribed for the short-term (five days or less) management of acute pain. It combines an opioid painkiller (tramadol) with the common pain reliever acetaminophen.

You should know that you should not drive a car, operate machinery or engage in other potentially dangerous activities while you're on Ultracet, because the drug can interfere with thinking and with physical abilities.

It's also important to know that Ultracet can interact with a number of other medications. You should not use it with alcohol or with drugs that depress the central nervous system, such as narcotics, tranquilizers and sedative hypnotics. The combination can increase the risk of respiratory depression, in which breathing can become dangerously slow and shallow. Other drugs can increase your blood level of tramadol, raising the risk of serious side effects; still others can reduce tramadol's effect, which can interfere with pain relief. While you're on Ultracet, you should avoid taking any other medication that contains acetaminophen, including over-the-counter cold and flu remedies, in order to reduce the risk of a dangerous overdose. Before you take Ultracet, tell your doctor about all your other medications (prescription or over-the-counter) as well as any supplements you take. Once you're on Ultracet, do not take any new drugs or supplements without talking with your doctor.

You should know that certain medical conditions increase the risk that Ultracet could cause problems. Before you start taking Ultracet, give your doctor a complete medical history.

To reduce the risk of a dangerous overdose, take Ultracet just as your doctor prescribes. Do not take more of it, or take it more often, than directed.