When it comes to pain relief, both Tramadol and Vicodin are two very popular brands. Tramadol is actually the generic name for an opiate analgesic while Vicodin is the brand name for the combination for acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Both are used to relieve moderate to severe pain, although Vicodin is a narcotic painkiller which means that there is a risk of dependency. In addition, both of these drugs are prescription only.
Being an opiate analgesic that contains serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, this particular drug also has a number of different brand names as well which include Rysolt, Conzip, Ultram and Ultracet. You’ll find Tramadol used in tablet and capsule form with different levels of dosages depending on the type of pain that is being treated. Vicodin also comes under the brand names of Lorcet, Hycet, Maxidone, Zamicet, Zydone and Norco to name a few and comes in many different forms that includes syrup for short term use.
Differences Between Tramadol and Vicodin
Essentially, while both drugs address the same basic issues of moderate to severe pain, there are differences in the composition of each medication.
Tramadol releases serotonin and is a reuptake inhibitor of norepinephrine which affects how the brain perceives pain. While this is a very effective means of controlling pain, the drug may also be addictive and habit forming as well which means that it must be administered under careful consideration from your doctor.
Vicodin is different in effect because it is a semi-synthetic narcotic and opioid painkiller which means that it changes the way the brain responds to pain. Like Tramadol however, it also can be addictive and must be carefully administered otherwise it may become habit forming. Both drugs are similar in that they are taken every four to six hours for pain relief. However, Tramadol is generally only prescribed at 400mg per day while Vicodin can be prescribed at up to 4,000mg per day.
What Are the Side Effects?
In terms of overall effect, double blind studies have demonstrated that Vicodin may have a stronger effect overall as it does seem to relieve pain faster and in a more complete manner than Tramadol. However, this may be due to the overall dosage and just how it fools the brain into perceiving pain. Still, such studies are generally not totally reliable because people perceive pain differently as well as their treatments. What might be tolerable for one person may be agony for another, so precise studies on the effects are not possible as of this time.
Besides allergic reactions, both drugs have different side effects as well. Tramadol may cause dizziness, feelings of weakness and difficulty falling asleep in terms of its lighter side effects. Vicodin may also cause dizziness, but also light-headedness, nausea, vomiting or an abrupt change in mood.
Deciding which one you should take will depend in large part on what your doctor prescribes. This will mean taking into account your medical history which should include your previous use of similar drugs and your reaction to them.