Tramadol is a synthetic opiate drug that is useful in treating moderate to severe pain associated with surgery or numerous conditions.
Tramadol was marketed as a safer opiate drug for the treatment of pain compared to drugs with a higher abuse potential such as OxyContin and Vicodin, but it is still classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Drugs in this class are considered to have moderate potentials for abuse and may result in the development of physical dependence on the drug if it is used repeatedly.The mechanism of action of tramadol is similar to the mechanism of action of other narcotic/opioid drugs. It readily attaches to specific neurons in the brain that are specialized for a group of neurotransmitters that are commonly referred to collectively as the endogenous opioid neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters include substances like enkephalins and endorphins, and they assist individuals in coping with stress, exertion, and pain. The drug may also increase the availability of norepinephrine and serotonin when it is used. Tramadol is classified as a central nervous system depressant drug, like other opiate drugs, meaning that its overall effects result in reduction of neuron firing in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
Obviously, the effects of mixing both drugs are limited when both drugs are taken in very low amounts; however, even at very low amounts, there may be deleterious effects that can include unpredictable personal reactions to the combination of these drugs. Tramadol has a number of potential side effects associated with its use, and drinking alcohol with tramadol can increase the potential that these will occur.
According to the book Drug Interactions: Analysis and Management, there are a number of potential dangers that can occur when individuals mix tramadol and alcohol.
According to sources like SAMHSA, the abuse of alcohol and other opiate drugs like tramadol is a concern across all age groups, but it is a particular concern for younger individuals under the age of 25.
This is because hospitalizations for younger individuals as a result of alcohol combined with prescription medications have increased significantly over the past several years, and the potential effects of overdosing on these drugs can be devastating and life-changing for these individuals.