Photo By chatuphot via Shutterstock
A British woman was arrested for bringing 290 tablets of tramadol to Egypt for her husband's sore back.Tramadol is very similar with opioid analgesics used to help relieve moderate to severe pain.In Egypt, the painkiller is an abused substance and used as a substitute for heroin.
Laura Plummer, 33, was arrested for possessing 290 tablets of tramadol and some naproxen painkillers.She was detained at the Hurghada International Airport on suspicion of drug trafficking.She was told that she may spend up to 25 years in jail or worse, a death penalty.
Laura's brother, James Plummer, related that his sister had been given the prescription drugs by her colleague after she told her about her husband's pain.
"So she took those over with her.Laura didn't even check what they were, she didn't even know there was tramadol in the bag.There was also naproxen as well," said Plummer.
The authorities in Egypt had been very vigilant with Laura because tramadol is the most abused substance in the country.The drug is used as a substitute for heroin and at least 48,000 calls were received by government agencies about tramadol from January to June this year.
What is Tramadol
It is a synthetic analgesic designed for moderate to severe pain and it works by changing how your body feels and responds to pain.Tramadol may be used to relieve pain caused by certain illnesses, such as cancer, osteoarthritis, and other musculoskeletal disorders.
However, tramadol is used as an around-the-clock treatment for pain, not as an as-needed pain reliever.People with severe asthma, breathing problems, blockage in the stomach or intestines, and who recently used alcohol, sedatives, narcotic medications and monoamine oxidase inhibitors in the last 14 days should never take tramadol.
People may suffer from seizures upon taking tramadol.The risk of having a seizure increases significantly if the person had a head injury, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, metabolic disorder, addiction to drugs or alcohol, and the use of certain medications such as drugs for HIV, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
Side Effects of Tramadol
The most common side effect of tramadol is an allergic reaction to it.Signs of allergic reaction include hives, breathing difficulties, swollen face, lips, tongue, and throat.The person must receive immediate medical attention to avoid serious complications.Other side effects of tramadol are:
- Noisy or shallow breathing
- Slow breathing
- Slow heart rate or weak pulse
- Light-headed feeling
- Convulsions or seizures
- Missed menstrual periods
- Sexual problems
If the pain medication causes the cortisol levels to drop, you may suffer nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, dizziness, and weakness.Severe skin reactions to tramadol include pain on the skin, swelling of the face and tongue, fever, sore throat, a red or purple skin rash on the face and upper body, and blistering and peeling of the skin.Seek emergency medical attention if any of the symptoms present themselves after taking tramadol.
Dose and Contraindication
The usual dosage of tramadol is 50 to 100 milligrams taken orally for every four to six hours.The maximum dose per day of tramadol is 400 milligrams.Dosage for adults with chronic pain ranges from 25 to 100 milligrams depending on the advice of the clinician.For the elderly, the maximum dose is 300 milligrams a day while pediatric dosage is 400 milligrams a day and can only be given to people ages 17 or older.
Tramadol can cause dangerous side effects or death if it is used in combination with medications.Drugs that make you sleepy or slow down your breathing such as sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, and antipsychotic medications must not be used with tramadol.Drugs that influence serotonin levels such as antidepressants, headache meds, antibiotics, and drugs for Parkinson's disease can cause adverse effects when used with tramadol.Photo By By designer491 via Shutterstock
Tramadol on Pregnant Women
The use of tramadol by pregnant women is generally unfavorable because the side effects are greater than the benefits.Tramadol can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in newborn babies.Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a health condition of infants suffering from withdrawal symptoms after they have been exposed to narcotics.Babies with NAS are likely to suffer from seizures, birth defects, and poor intrauterine growth.
Babies suffering from NAS are more difficult to comfort, may need more calories because of increased activity, and may sometimes require intravenous fluids because of dehydration, vomiting or frequent bowel movement.Some babies with NAS may need medications to treat the withdrawal symptoms.These medications are usually in related to the substance the babies are withdrawing from.
Global Drug-Related Deaths
- The US leads the highest drug-related death rate in the world with 52,400 deaths each year, in 2015.
- Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous opioids that cause fatal overdoses among users.
- About 66,100 people die in Asia because of drug-related activities.
- About 40,800 people in Africa because of drug-related activities.
- More than 190,000 people die every year across the globe because of drug-related activities.