Ultram (tramadol)

Ultram (tramadol) for the treatment of migraine headaches: an introduction

Ultram is the brand name for the prescription medication tramadol. It is a pain killer prescribed for relieving moderate to moderately severe pain. It is in the class of drugs called opiate agonists and is used for long-term, around-the-clock pain relief.

This medication is also sold under the names:

  • Ultram
  • UltramER
  • Ultracet, which contains tramadol and acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.

How Ultram for migraines works

Doctors and researchers don’t completely understand how Ultram relieves pain. It appears to work on the opioid receptors found in the central nervous system. This is thought to decrease the brain’s perception of pain, while increasing a person’s tolerance for pain.

Forms of Ultram available

Ultram is available in tablets and capsules.

Most common side effects of Ultram

  • Difficulty falling sleep or staying asleep
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Itching
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Dry mouth
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a body part
  • Muscle tightness
  • Moodiness
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Serious side effects

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience seizures, sores inside your mouth, nose, eyes or throat. Also you should seek medical attention right away if you have flu-like symptoms, hives, rash, problems swallowing or breathing, hoarseness, hallucinations or swelling in your face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs.

Who should not take Ultram for migraines

Ultram should be avoided if you’ve had any symptoms that indicate allergy or sensitivity to the medication or any in the opioid class. Also don’t take Ultram if you are intoxicated with alcohol, hypnotics, narcotics, centrally acting analgesics, opioids or psychotropic drugs. According to the prescribing information for Ultram, the medication may worsen central nervous system and respiratory depression in these patients.



As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These medication descriptions are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication regimen without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.

Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
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