What is the Difference Between Tramadol and Morphine?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2019
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Tramadol and morphine are both commonly used for post surgery pain and discomfort, but the main differences lie within the strength of the drugs, and the side effects that are obtained from them. Tramadol is a much weaker pain medication when compared to morphine, equally about 10:1. This means that 10 times the amount of tramadol must be given in order to equal the amount of pain relief that is achieved by one small dose of morphine. However, Tramadol is much more suited for young children, elderly people, and patients with any type of respiratory problems. Studies have shown that tramadol does not cause the breathing problems within these groups of people, but morphine does.

When it comes to the differences between tramadol and morphine, the first area that has to be considered is how potent morphine is. This medication is so strong that many times people who are not tolerant to other opiates cannot handle this drug so tramadol will be given instead. Morphine is also much more addictive because of this potency, so problems from drug withdrawals can easily occur after the patient has been released from the hospital. Regardless of this, though, people of average age and in good health receive this medication because it is effective in low doses for high levels of pain and discomfort.


The difference between tramadol and morphine, when it comes to tramdol, is that it has no negative side effects for people with respiratory problems. People that have thoughts of suicide are not allowed to take this drug, though, because it increases those desires to a point where action may be taken on the feelings. This drug also has, in a few cases, been shown to cause seizures, so people with epilepsy should avoid it. The benefits of this drug are comparable to morphine at higher amounts, but it only works for mild or moderate pain.

People after surgery can easily benefit from either medication. The difference between these substances is that tramadol is better in specific causes as long as the pain is not at an unbearable level. Morphine, on the other hand, works for any amount of pain levels, but it can cause respiratory complications in people who already have problems in these areas. When it comes to the difference between tramadol and morphine, it usually comes down to the amount of pain that the patient feels, and the specifics of each case.


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Post 3

@anamur-- Although it might change from person to person, if anything, tramadol is worse than morpine in terms of addiction and withdrawal effects. That's what my friend said anyway. He was on tramadol for a long time to treat his chronic pain and had the hardest time when he stopped taking it. Tramadol caused withdrawal side effects like anxiety, jitters, irritability and mood swings.

He had been on morphine before as well and said that the withdrawal symptoms from morphine were not as bad as tramadol's for him.

This could be different from person to person and how long the medication is used. But I don't think that there is any reason to believe that tramadol is safer in terms of addiction than morphine is.

Post 2

Is there a difference between tramadol versus morphine in terms of habit formation or addiction?

I know that morphine is a drug which is often abused by people who use it but I don't think it's available without a prescription.

Tramadol, on the other hand, is easily available online without a prescription. But technically they both belong to the same group of medicines. So why is tramadol available without a prescription? Is tramadol less addicting than morphine even when it's used regularly? Or is one of these safer for someone with a history of drug addiction?

Post 1

At the vet I work for, we use both tramadol and morphine as analgesics (pain killers) for dogs and cats after they have surgery. We use morphine when there is a lot of constant pain expected post-surgery and tramadol if it's a minor surgery with pain for a short period of time.

I would also say that tramadol and morphine are equivalent in effect but since morphine is stronger, the pain killing effects last much longer. We had two cats that had surgery in the same week recently for example. We used tramadol for one and morphine for the other. The cat that had morphine took a much longer time to feel pain again than the cat which was

given tramadol.

The use of either of these also depends on the type of surgery or treatment. Sometimes, we use tramadol intentionally because we want to know if the animal is experiencing pain soon post-surgery as that can be an indication of a complication.

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