Written by: Lee Spinks
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: February 2nd, 2023
Alone, tramadol abuse can present serious health risks in users, which is heightened even further when it is mixed with alcohol.
Both tramadol addiction and alcohol addiction are conditions which are closely linked to mental health. In the UK today, people commonly abuse substances, such as opioids or alcohol, to deal with a range of chronic physical and mental health symptoms.
Below, we will take a closer look at some of the risks associated with mixing alcohol and tramadol, as well as what to do if you or a loved one require support in breaking your reliance.
How does alcohol interact with tramadol?
According to the NHS website, it is not recommended for users to mix painkillers like tramadol with alcohol, as doing so can increase or intensify side effects in a way that can be dangerous. This is partly because both tramadol and alcohol are depressants, and combining them can lead to an array of concerning side effects, some of which include:
- Slowed breathing
- Reduced heart rate
- Reduced brain activity
- Stomach pain
- Liver damage
- Loss of balance and co-ordination (you should not operate machinery if under the influence of these substances)
- Behaving out of character
- Dangers of mixing tramadol with alcohol
Some of the main dangers associated with mixing tramadol and alcohol can include, but are not limited to:
Alcohol also interacts poorly with tramadol, which means when used simultaneously, it can reduce the overall efficacy of the drug in the body. Many people can then take more tramadol whilst under the influence of alcohol to get those same effects.
However, this is extremely dangerous and can lead to a tramadol overdose. In fact, most tramadol overdoses are a result of having mixed the drug with alcohol. Tramadol prescriptions always come with professional warnings to avoid alcohol when taking the medication to reduce the adverse side effects of mixing the two substances.
Suppression of the central nervous system
Another significant risk of taking tramadol and drinking at the same time can be the suppression of the central nervous system, with both substances slowing down the body so much that users become heavily sedated.
In more severe cases, individuals can actually go into cardiac arrest as a result of this lethal combination. Therefore, it is always advised that anyone considering mixing tramadol and alcohol is aware of these dangers, as the results can be life-threatening.
What should I do if I have already consumed tramadol and alcohol together at the same time?
If you have mixed alcohol and tramadol, you should seek immediate medical advice. Mixing alcohol and tramadol can have serious consequences to your health, that in some cases, can be fatal.
Below, we are going to show you how much alcohol and tramadol consumption is considered to be a safe amount.
How much alcohol is safe to use?
While alcohol is a legal substance, it is still important to remember that the substance can have a huge impact on the way that individuals think, feel, and behave. Therefore, the safest way to drink alcohol would be to avoid it entirely, protecting yourself from any potential dangers associated with the substance.
This is because drinking, especially in larger quantities, can present serious costs to users’ health and well-being. Not to mention that drinking alcohol can pose a high potential for addiction. In fact, even users who drink alcohol at safe volumes can fall into dependence, which is why we always implore individuals to approach their drinking with a great deal of attention.
However, if you cannot completely stop drinking, the next best option would be to research a safe limit that does not put you at risk. Safe drinking for one person may not necessarily be safe for another, and this all comes down to certain factors, like your age, gender, and health.
If you require more specific information about how much alcohol is safe to drink, we would strongly advise speaking with your GP to learn more. If not, you can also have a look at Alcohol Change UK’s unit calculator to learn more. Generally, however, alcohol guidelines suggest that adults drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This makes up to around:
- Six glasses of wine
- Six pints of beer
- Seven 50ml measures of spirits (such as rum)
How much tramadol is safe to use?
By learning how much tramadol is safe to use, we can gain some more insight into the difference between healthy and unhealthy use of the substance. Oftentimes, people tend to neglect that tramadol is a type of opioid. Opioids have the potential to be highly addictive and can be especially harmful when a prescription dosage is exceeded or mixed with other substances like alcohol.
Tramadol is a prescription drug, which means that a medical prescription is required for the substance to be obtained legally. Its intended use is for mild to moderate pain relief, with patients having detailed treatment plans if their use of the drugs is intended to be more than a few weeks.
Typically, it is advised that adults take no more than 400mg of tramadol per day. However, each user is going to be different, and the recommended dose for one individual may be totally different from another. Therefore, we would recommend that, if you are not entirely sure of how much tramadol is safe for you, you contact your health practitioner immediately to gain more detailed information.
Both alcohol and tramadol have a high potential for addiction, and it is essential that you are always keeping an eye on your intake, acting immediately if your consumption is venturing into unsafe territory.
If you have been taking tramadol for a while, you may have noticed that the effects of the drug have reduced, causing you to take more of it to feel the same effects or mix it with other substances, such as alcohol.
If you run out of tramadol, there’s also a risk of using another drug in its place, making tramadol your gateway to other more harmful drugs. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. At Primrose Lodge, our alcohol rehab helps clients who use alcohol with other drugs like tramadol. We have worked with numerous clients that have turned their lives around.
Rehab treatment is all about getting to the root cause of addiction. Often it is taking the first step that is the hardest due to fear of the unknown. If you would like more information about Primrose Lodge and what we can do for you, you can contact our team for further information and support.