Rheumatoid Arthritis and Tramadol Side Effects

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered one of the most debilitating chronic diseases known to man. To the relief of millions of arthritics around the world, it is not a fatal illness. However, those who are afflicted with this condition have been found to have a shorter life expectancy than people without the disease. The reason for this is their increased risk for other serious conditions such as heart disease, respiratory problems, renal disease, and infections.

Over the years, advances in medicine have brought great hope for the millions of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Medications sold today are more effective against a wide range of viral and bacterial infections, inflammations, and other ailments. And there are more of them, each working in a slightly different way. So if one drug doesn’t help a patient, there are other options to consider. The more options there are, the better it is for the patient. More people are treated more aggressively and the diseases are getting under control as quickly as possible.

However, it is important to realize that most drugs sold in the market also have side effects. Every person reacts to a drug slightly differently from the others. A certain drug might work perfectly for one person while producing adverse side effects on another user. Take the case of Tramadol, a medication used to relieve moderate pain. It is similar to narcotic pain medications. It works on certain nerves in the brain that control how you experience pain. Medications like Tramadol help control pain, swelling, and prevent damage to joints. Disease-modifiying medications such as DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) and TNF blockers can do more than just keep you from being disabled. These can even stop the disease in its tracks and may add years to your life. Some of the known tramadol side effects include nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, overall physical weakness, and constipation. To control the effects of constipation, a patient using DMARDs should eat food that is rich in fiber. Drinking plenty of water and doing regular physical exercise would also help prevent constipation. People who regularly take Tramadol are advised to start using a laxative right away instead of waiting until one becomes constipated. Consulting a pharmacist regarding the correct use of laxatives is also advised.

Doctors prescribe this medication because the benefits that come with the use of the said drug outweigh the risk of having tramadol side effects. Most people who use this medication do not experience serious side effects. Inform your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious tramadol side effects occur: mental/mood changes, unusual or extreme stiffness in the muscles, shaking (tremor), severe stomach/abdominal pain, change in the amount of urine, and impairment of vision.

Other rare but very serious tramadol side effects include slow or shallow breathing, seizures, and fever or flu-like symptoms. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug, which may occur as early as the first dose, is rare. However, patients are advised to seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms develop: rash, itching, swelling especially of the lips, tongue, or throat, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.

Several major studies have documented the dramatic benefits of early treatment with rheumatoid arthritis medication. As soon as a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is made, something can usually be done with confidence. “It’s never too early, and never too late — there’s plenty of data that even treating late does help, so don’t despair if you didn’t receive early treatment,” says Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, clinical director of the Gosden-Robinson Early Arthritis Center at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery.

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