Tramadol for pain

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Tramadol for pain

This leaflet is about the use of tramadol to reduce mild or moderate pain.

This leaflet has been written specifically about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of drug


Brand names: Zamadol®, Zydol®
Modified release tablets and capsules: Larapam® SR, Mabron®, Marol®, Maxitram SR®, Tradorec XL®, Tramquel SR®, Zamadol® SR, Zamadol® 24hr, Zeridame® SR, Zydol SR®, Zydol XL®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

It is important to give tramadol, as advised by your doctor, to control your child’s pain.

What is tramadol available as?

  • Soluble tablets: 50 mg
  • Orodispersible tablets: 50 mg; these contain aspartame
  • Capsules: 50 mg
  • Modified release tablets and capsules: 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg,
    300 mg, 400 mg

When should I give tramadol?

The following advice does not apply to modified release capsules and tablets.

  • If your child needs help with pain during the day and night for several days, give a dose of tramadol every 6 hours to help stop the pain from coming back.
  • If your child has pain that comes and goes, give a dose of tramadol when they first complain of pain. Wait at least 4 hours before giving another dose.
  • You must not give your child more than four doses of tramadol in 24 hours.
  • Write down the time that you give each dose, to help you remember.
Modified release tablets and capsules

If your child has pain all the time, your doctor may prescribe modified-release capsules. These are given once or twice each day. Your doctor will tell you how often to give the medicine.

  • Once a day: this can be in the morning OR the evening.
  • Twice a day: this should be once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 and 8 am, and between 7 and 8 pm.

Do not give modified-release tablets every 6 hours.

Give the medicine at about the same times each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of tramadol (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

Soluble tablets: Dissolve the tablet(s) in water. Your doctor or pharmacist will have told you how much water to use and how much to give to your child. Make sure your child drinks it all straight away, using a medicine spoon or oral syringe.


Orodispersible tablets: Make sure your hands are dry. Take the tablet out of the blister pack and put it on your child’s tongue. The tablet will dissolve as your child sucks it and they should swallow it all. You can also dissolve it in a glass of water. Your child should drink it all straight away.

Capsules should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the capsule. You can open the capsule and mix the contents with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or jam. Make sure your child swallows it straight away without chewing.

When should the medicine start working?

Your child should start to feel less pain within half an hour of being given this medicine. If you are worried about whether it is helping, contact your doctor.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of tramadol, you should try to give alternative pain relief until the next normal dose of tramadol is due. This is to prevent the side-effects of a large dose of tramadol, such as nausea and drowsiness.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of tramadol, you do not need to give them another dose or any other pain relief. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I forget to give it?

If your child is in pain, give the missed dose as soon as you remember. You must then wait at least 4 hours before giving any more.

Modified release capsules

If you usually give it once a day 
Give the missed dose when you remember during the day, as long as this is at least 10 hours before the next dose is due. You do not need to wake up a sleeping child to give a missed dose.

If you usually give it twice a day
If you remember up to 4 hours after you should have given a dose, give your child the missed dose.
For example, if you usually give a dose at about 7 am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Just give the next dose as usual.

Never give a double dose of tramadol.

What if I give too much?

It may be dangerous to give too much tramadol.

If you you think you may have given your child too much tramadol, contact your doctor or local NHS services (111 in England and Scotland; 0845 4647 in Wales) or take your child to hospital. Take the medicine container or packaging with you, even if it is empty. This will be useful to the doctor. Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Side-effects you must do something about

If your child has an irregular or fast heartbeat (they may say their heart feels fluttery or is racing), or their breathing becomes irregular, contact your doctor or take your child to hospital straight away.

If your child has hallucinations (sees things that aren’t there), contact your doctor straight away.

If your child is very drowsy or has slow breathing, contact your doctor straight away.

Other side-effects you need to know about
  • Your child may feel sick (nausea) or be sick (vomit). Giving the medicine with some food or milk may help. This effect is usually worst in the first few days of treatment. If vomiting is severe or you are worried, contact your doctor.
  • Your child may be constipated or have diarrhoea.
  • Your child may have a dry mouth. Eating citrus fruits (e.g. oranges) and taking sips of water may help.
  • Your child may be sweaty, sleepy (drowsy), have a headache (they may say their head is painful or pounding), feel dizzy, or have pins and needles.
  • Your child may have changes in mood or have sleep disturbances such as difficulty getting to sleep.

There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side-effects to a UK safety scheme at http://www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as tramadol?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Tramadol should not be taken with some medicines that you get on prescription. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicines your child is taking before giving tramadol. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

If your doctor has prescribed a dose of tramadol that is under 50 mg, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions about how to give the dose. If you need any further advice, please contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.

If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about tramadol and about other medicines used to treat pain.

You can also get useful information from: 
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