Tramadol vs Vicodin


Whenever you’re considering a course of medication, however mild, it’s always a good idea to know as much about what you’re putting into your body as is feasible. This enables you to obtain the very best solution to whatever ails you, while avoiding any possible pitfalls and avoidable side-effects. Towards this end, we want to highlight two of the most prolific prescription painkillers on the market today, namely; Tramadol and Vicodin.

These pain relief medications work by attaching their active elements to your brain’s pain receptors in order to mitigate your conscious perception of pain. Acting as antidepressants, they enhance and lengthen the effects of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain to give you a feeling of pain-free well-being.

They’ll usually be prescribed after a patient undergoes surgery or to aid in pain management in cases of painful chronic illnesses such as arthritis or cancer related conditions. Here’s a closer look, for comparison’s sake, at the two drugs:


Usually prescribed to alleviate moderate to moderately severe pain, this drug works in a very similar way to Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and Morphine, and yet is classified as a non-narcotic. It is sold under numerous brand names including Ryzolt, Ultram, Ultram ER, Rybix ODT, and ConZip.

Side effects

Commonly experienced short-term side effects include; dizziness, constipation, nausea, general weakness, itching, nasal congestion, sore throat, and drowsiness. These are generally expected to clear up within a few days and as such should not alarm patients overmuch.

Alarm bells should ring, though, should one experience any of the following reactions to Tramadol; mood swings in patients with a history of or who are currently suffering from depression; swelling of the tongue and throat, skin rashes, or trouble breathing, as these will be indicative of a hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction. These call for immediate medical attention.


Vicodin is the brand name for opioid-analgesic pain relief medication with its active ingredients being hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Note that Hydrocodone is classed as a narcotic.

Side effects

The milder side effects of Vicodin are commonly reported as; loss of appetite, constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, itching, and nausea. As with Tramadol, these are usually expected to resolve themselves within a few days.

Some of the more serious effects, however, are as follow; low blood pressure, mood swings and confusion, respiratory depression, gastric obstruction, and allergic reaction (hypersensitivity), which manifests in the form of skin rashes, trouble breathing, and swelling of throat and tongue region. Should these symptoms present themselves, seek immediate medical attention.

Common risk factors

The side effects of both drugs are known to be exacerbated by such conditions as advanced age, kidney or liver disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as a host of other chronic disease, and as such, administration of the drugs in such cases should be handled with extra care and vigilance.

Which one is for you?

As you’ll have noted, these two drugs share a plethora of similarities in their mode of action, side effects, and exacerbating factors. Of note though, is the fact that whereas Tramadol 50mg doesn’t contain any narcotic elements, Vicodin does. The ramification of this distinction is the fact that Vicodin can be highly habit forming, and thus users may run the risk of becoming dependent or addicted to the drug. This risk is doubled in patients with a history of substance abuse.

Vicodin, moreover, while considered in some quarters to be the more efficacious of the two drugs in comparison, also comes with a more extensive list of side effects and contraindications.

In all, what you should take away from this article is the fact that you always have options when it comes to pain management and alleviation. Present your concerns to your physician, but always be prepared to follow the course of action they recommend for you. They know best.

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