Does Tramadol Go Bad? (Must Read)


Tramadol is a synthetic opioid compared to natural opioids such as codeine or morphine. Tramadol is a valuable pain blocker and has become the most prescribed medication in the US. However, Tramadol is not suitable for everyone. If you have chronic pain, you may need a high dosage of tramadol. But does Tramadol go bad?

Tramadol does not affect 5 % of Caucasians, regardless of the dose to cure chronic pain. The only thing that will be experienced is the adverse side effects of this potent drug, like anxiety and insomnia.

It is essential to know the active status of a drug and if it expires, and under what conditions it expires other than age. This article delves into Tramadol, its longevity, and what can make it expire. We answer frequently asked questions providing you with factual information.

Let’s get into it.

Does Tramadol expire?

Yes. Tramadol has a shelf life of  2 years from being manufactured. Harvard University conducted studies on the actual expiration of drugs and came up with a different answer that would be confusing.

Harvard said that having tested expired drugs, they found that the drugs were still effective up to fifteen years past the expiry date.

However, in this instance, it seems logical to take the advice of the pharmacy company producing the tramadol.

Like most drugs, tramadol will expire. It has a long shelf life, and due to the drug being so commonly prescribed, it is unlikely you would ever come across a packet of tramadol that is close to expiry.

However, if you are taking tramadol for chronic pain and the drug seems less effective, it is unlikely to do with the expiry date of the tramadol.

Over time continuous drug taking causes the body to build up a tolerance to the drug to the point where they are less effective at blocking the pain.

If you have found yourself in this position, you should seek advice from your doctor rather than popping more pills to reach the desired effect. It is easy to overdose, especially when trying to alleviate chronic pain.

Once in your system, tramadol takes about 30 minutes to take effect and make the pain subside. Depending on the prescribed dose and frequency, tramadol should last for 4  to 6 hours before the tramadol effects start to wear off.

Does Tramadol need to be refrigerated?

There is no requirement to store tramadol in the fridge. Some drugs like antibiotics, creams, and eye drops need to be stirred cold, but painkillers and most injectables are stored at room temperature, which is around 70℉

To store tramadol effectively, it should not be exposed to moisture and high humidity. Fortunately, tramadol is mainly supplied in airtight blister packs.

If you suspect your prescribed tramadol has been exposed to moisture and could have been damaged, you should consult your doctor for advice.

How do you take tramadol?

Pain ranging from moderate to severe is treated with tramadol. Typically, it is taken orally as pills or capsules.

Tramadol is a prescription-only analgesic when taken alone. It is used to treat pain that more popular medicines cannot relieve. This implies that you cannot lawfully purchase it without a prescription.

Some people who misuse their prescription for tramadol or take it illegally crush the tablets and sniff the crushed powder.

Can you take tramadol two years out of date?

It depends. Tramadol will have a long shelf life if it is in a closed bottle and not exposed to sunlight and moisture.

For example, if it were kept in a glove compartment in a car, the high and low temperatures would shorten its shelf life. A sealed bottle in a cabinet can have close to the same strength as when purchased at a pharmacy after several years.

It is not ideal to take expired painkillers, but when you are in pain, and there are few alternatives, it may provide the relief you need until you can speak with your doctor and get a new prescription.

How does taking Tramadol make you feel?

It will depend on the dosage you have been prescribed to manage your pain. Tramadol is an opioid and shares some similarities with other opioids like heroin.

These are the general descriptions of how tramadol makes you feel, and you can see they vary, indicating the type of dose taken.

  • Happy
  • Calm
  • relaxed
  • awake – it may stop you from sleeping
  • sick – you may need to vomit
  • dizzy
  • tired and lethargic – you may feel like you have no energy
  • constipated
  • uninterested in food
  • drowsy
  • confused
  • sweaty
  • Itchy

Less frequently reported symptoms.

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or fainting
  • excessive sweating
  • itching
  • raised blood pressure
  • tightness in the airways
  • muscle weakness
  • sensory disturbances
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • Fits

Is tramadol safe to take?

Tramadol is a prescribed drug. It can’t be bought over the counter. Tramadol is potent and belongs to the opioid family of drugs.

While tramadol isn’t as potent as certain other opioid medicines (like heroin), it has some of the same side effects and can be fatal if used in excess.

People with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should avoid taking tramadol since it can make breathing more difficult.

Serotonin syndrome has been connected to tramadol use. The serotonin receptors are overstimulated in this potentially fatal disease. High fever, rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, twitching muscles, agitation, and confusion are all symptoms of serotonin syndrome.

Pregnant women shouldn’t use tramadol because it can harm the growing fetus.

Does tramadol make you sleepy or awake?

Tramadol use is more frequently linked to sleeplessness, even though it has adverse effects that can make you sleepy and exhausted.

In a brief trial, tramadol users had stage 2 and stage 4 sleep that was considerably shorter. In addition to disrupting sleep and altering healthy sleep patterns, tramadol may induce sleep-related issues like sleep apnea.

Despite being depressive with mostly calming and relaxing effects, tramadol can also cause euphoria at higher doses. Tramadol can serve as a stimulant and produce minor euphoric effects similar to heroin when it is misused or combined with other drugs.

At what age is tramadol usually prescribed?

Not younger than 12 years old, and a more potent version like Ultram, ER should not be given to anyone under the age of 18.

Seizures can occur when patients take tramadol, so the patient will need to examine before the drug can be prescribed thoroughly.

Due to the known hazards, tramadol should only be used if clearly prescribed by a doctor.

Can you become addicted to tramadol?

Tramadol is indeed habit-forming.

Tramadol use might eventually lead to psychological dependence and urges.

When tramadol is prescribed to manage physical pain, some people develop an addiction to it. When they stop taking it, they develop withdrawal symptoms, which lead to continuing to take it. This shouldn’t occur if you take tramadol, as your doctor has advised.

Another problem with tolerance is that users may need to take more medication to achieve the same results or to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

How long do the side effects of tramadol last?

Tramadol’s side effects typically start to show up when you first start taking it. Many of these adverse effects could disappear when your body becomes used to the medication. 

If side effects persist or become too troublesome, you should discuss your concerns with your primary care physician.

It can be challenging to manage the long-term adverse effects of tramadol, such as dependency, sleep problems, muscle spasms, stomachaches, and serotonin syndrome.

Tramadol abuse can have long-term adverse effects that can last for years if not treated properly. 

Discussing your tramadol tolerance and reliance with your doctor may be beneficial. Some patients may need to enroll in a medical detox program to safely and pleasantly stop taking tramadol without suffering from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

What happens if I take too much tramadol?

Get immediate medical help or dial 1-800-222-1222 for poison help. An overdose can be lethal in children or other people utilizing the medication without a prescription.

Severe sleepiness, pin-point pupils, delayed respiration, or no breathing are all possible overdose signs.

Your doctor might advise you to get naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, and keep it on hand at all times. If you stop breathing or don’t wake up, someone taking care of you can administer the naloxone. 

While waiting for aid to arrive, your caretaker may need to revive you with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your caregiver must still seek emergency medical attention.

Naloxone is available for purchase from any drugstore or community health center. Make sure anyone taking care of you is aware.

Final thoughts

The efficacy of tramadol is not in question, and we have established that the drug’s shelf life is long at about two years.

Should you take expired prescription drugs? No, never. You have no idea of the effectiveness of the drug or if the drug has become contaminated while sitting for so long.

Tramadol is a potent opioid drug and should only be taken with advice from your doctor.

The information supplied is not medical advice. If you suffer from chronic pains, seek advice from a doctor.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

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