Tramadol and Suboxone are both opioid drugs, which means they act in the brain to reduce the perception of pain. Because they work in similar ways, you might wonder if you can take them together. The answer is yes, with some important considerations.
Tramadol and Suboxone are both used for similar reasons: to treat moderate to severe pain that does not respond well to more common medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Both drugs can be helpful when taken as directed for specific conditions, but the risks of taking them together outweigh the benefits for most people.
In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s not a good idea to take these two drugs at the same time, and when it’s safe to use one instead of the other.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a drug that’s used to treat opioid use disorder. People who suffer from opioid use disorder often use more and higher doses of opioids than prescribed for pain relief.
They may continue to use opioids even when it causes them problems in their daily lives.
In some cases, doctors recommend Suboxone to treat opioid use disorder. It’s a combination drug that contains an opioid called buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It works by binding to opioid receptors to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone has no opioid-like effects. It’s there to prevent misuse. Naloxone is a special type of drug called an opioid antagonist.
Naloxone only works if the Suboxone is misused. It blocks the effects of buprenorphine, so it can’t relieve withdrawal symptoms or produce a high.
Tramadol and Suboxone Are Not the Same Thing
Tramadol is a synthetic opioid used to treat mild to moderate pain. It’s a Schedule II drug, which means it’s moderately addictive with a high potential for abuse. It’s often used with acetaminophen.
Tracking the number of people who misuse or abuse tramadol isn’t easy, because it’s long been a popular prescription drug. Abuse trends may be underreported because many people who misuse the drug have no access to health care or drug treatment programs.
Tramadol is sometimes used to treat opioid use disorder, but it’s not a substitute for Suboxone. It is not an opioid antagonist. It does not bind to opioid receptors and block the effects of other opioids.
So although tramadol does help some people who are abusing opioids reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, it does nothing to prevent misuse.
Why You Shouldn’t Take Tramadol and Suboxone Together
When you take these two drugs together, you run the risk of opioid overdose. In other words, the two drugs together will cause you to overdose.
You should especially avoid taking tramadol and Suboxone together if you’re taking another opioid medication, such as fentanyl or hydrocodone. Combining two opioids puts you at an even higher risk of overdose.
When tramadol and Suboxone are taken together, they have a synergistic effect. Both drugs will work to reduce your pain, and they’ll also prevent you from feeling nauseous and having stomach issues that often come with opioid use.
If you take both drugs together, you’ll experience these benefits while taking a lower total dose of each drug.
That sounds like a good thing at first, but when you take two drugs together, you increase your risk of an overdose. The combined effects of these drugs put you at a much higher risk of an overdose with a lower total dose of each drug.
When You Can (and Should) Use Tramadol Instead of Suboxone
If you’re taking Suboxone to treat opioid use disorder and you want to try and reduce the dosage, tramadol could be an option. It could help you reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms enough to go down a dosage of Suboxone.
When you’re tapering the dose of Suboxone, the tramadol could help you get through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids.
If you’re currently taking a relatively low dose of Suboxone and you want to stop taking it, you could use tramadol instead.
If you’re trying to get off opioids and you don’t have any other conditions, such as chronic pain, tramadol could be an option. It may be a good option if you have a very high opioid tolerance.
When You Should Use Suboxone Instead of Tramadol
If you’re taking Suboxone to treat opioid use disorder, it’s a good idea to stick to the drug.
Although tramadol could help you reduce the dosage of Suboxone, taking both drugs together increases your risk of an overdose.
If you have chronic pain, tramadol may not be as effective. If you have a serious medical condition that requires opioids, you should use Suboxone instead of tramadol.
If you have a high opioid tolerance, tramadol may not help. Tramadol is often prescribed for people who can’t take enough opioids to effectively treat their pain.
If you’re taking tramadol or Suboxone, you need to be aware of the potential risks of taking them together. The two drugs have a synergistic effect, which means that they have a stronger effect when taken together.
If you take tramsadol and Suboxone together you have a greater risk of an overdose. If you have a serious medical condition, a high opioid tolerance, or chronic pain, Suboxone may be a better choice.
If you’re taking tramadol and Suboxone, make sure you’re aware of these risks, and be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you need to change your dosage or alter your treatment plan.