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What should I know before using Ultram?

Before using the prescription pain medication Ultram (tramadol), you should know whether you are allergic to tramadol, the active ingredient in this drug, or to any other drugs. You should also know whether your kidneys are working well enough to handle this medication. The kidneys are responsible for clearing this drug from the body, so if yours aren't working well, your doctor may need to adjust your medication dose.

You also should know that taking Ultram with certain medications may increase the risk of serious or life-threatening side effects. Drugs that may cause problems include:

  • certain antibiotics, such as erythromycin and linezolid
  • certain antifungals, such as ketoconazole
  • triptans
  • quinidine
  • rifampin
  • the supplement St. John's wort
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline 
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline and tranylcypromine
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline and trimipramine

In addition, other medicines that affect your central nervous system or cause sleepiness -- such as other opioid pain medicines, sleeping pills, antianxiety medicines, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers or sedative hypnotics, antipsychotics, antiseizure medicines, antinausea medicines or general anesthetics -- may make side effects of Ultram more serious.

Before you begin taking Ultram, give your doctor a complete list of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements you take. Do not start any new medicine or supplement while taking Ultram without talking to your doctor first. In addition, certain medical conditions may increase the risk for side effects, so give your doctor a complete medical history before starting the medication.

You should know that Ultram may make you drowsy and impair your coordination. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

Also, you should not take Ultram if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Take Ultram exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than recommended.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.