Tramadol vs Norco – Which Is Better To Relieve Moderate Pain?

Tramadol is the generic name for a pain reliever medicine that is sold under the brand names Conzip, Ultram, Ultram ER, and Rybix ODT.

It is a type of drug which is called an opiate agonist. Opioids are very potent painkillers that work by mimicking the action of endorphins, naturally occurring pain-reducing chemicals. It also induces the release of serotonin and inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine.

In the US, every year, more than 45 million prescriptions are dispensed for this drug. It is labeled as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the DEA.


It is typically prescribed to treat moderate to moderately severe pain including back, acute postoperative, neuropathic, or osteoarthritis pain.


The usual recommended dose for chronic pain is one or two capsules at first, according to the severity of your pain.

If the sufferer is older than 75 years, the maximum recommended dose per day is 300 mg. For adults, the maximum recommended dose per day is 400 mg.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea;
  • dizziness;
  • itching skin;
  • constipation;
  • indigestion;
  • drowsiness;
  • dry mouth;
  • vomiting;
  • heartburn;
  • muscle tightness;
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body;
  • change of mood;
  • agitation;
  • nervousness.

You should not use this medication if you have recently used:

  • an MAO inhibitor (linezolid, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, methylene blue injection, selegiline, rasagiline, and tranylcypromine);
  • narcotic medication;
  • tranquilizers;
  • sedatives.

This medicine can make you feel drowsy, therefore, do not operate heavy machinery until you know exactly how it affects you.

People with a history of emotional disturbances should consider taking non-narcotic analgesics (like – acetaminophen) instead. Moreover, individuals who are prone to addiction or suicidal thoughts should not take this medication.

Do not use this drug when you are pregnant, especially for a long time, since it can cause withdrawal in the baby.

The use of this drug can lead to serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

  • fast heart rate;
  • agitation;
  • a rise in body temperature;
  • hallucinations;
  • vomiting;
  • a decline in muscle coordination;
  • nausea;
  • restlessness;
  • hypertension;
  • overactive reflexes.

This medication can lead to addiction. Addiction is characterized by:

  • problems functioning without the medication;
  • an incapacity to limit use on one’s own;
  • compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

Note – if this drug is stopped suddenly, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • hallucinations;
  • diarrhea;
  • tremors;
  • nausea;
  • shakiness;
  • trouble sleeping;
  • sweating;
  • anxiety.


It is a brand name of a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Lortab, Lorcet, and Vicodin are other brand names for this drug combination.

Acetaminophen is a considerably less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone. It is also an ingredient found in some combination prescription medications (like – cough-and-cold products or fever/pain drugs) and in many nonprescription products.

Hydrocodone is an opioid pain drug that acts on the central nervous system to relieve pain.

It is made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, now Actavis Inc., a global pharmaceutical company. This drug was first approved by the FDA in 1997. In 2014, it was elevated to a Schedule II drug by the DEA to implement stricter control over the use of this medication.


It is mainly used for treating short-term pain due to a dental procedure, injury, or surgery.


This drug is usually taken every 4 to 6 hours and comes in tablet form. Furthermore, if you have trouble swallowing, it comes as a liquid.

Note – because of an increased risk of serious side effects (like – slow/shallow breathing), it is not recommended for use in children younger than 6 years.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • vomiting;
  • headaches;
  • ringing in the ears;
  • blurred vision;
  • changes in your mood;
  • drowsiness;
  • dizziness;
  • feelings of anxiousness.

Rare side effects may include:

  • fainting;
  • shallow breathing;
  • convulsions;
  • unusual thoughts;
  • stomach pain;
  • fear;
  • confusion;
  • lightheadedness.

The use of tricyclic antidepressants and MAO inhibitors (rasagiline, linezolid, isocarboxazid,  phenelzine, selegiline, and tranylcypromine) may increase the effect of this medication.

More importantly, the leading problems with using this drug are overdose and addiction, which can result in intense withdrawal symptoms, especially if you stop taking it suddenly. Individuals who use high doses of this drug for a long time frequently need to be in the hospital in order to stop using the drug.

Symptoms of overdose include:

  • coma;
  • blue lips;
  • sweating;
  • shallow breathing;
  • jaundice;
  • slow heart rate;
  • clamminess;
  • weak pulse;
  • confusion;
  • extreme drowsiness;
  • dark urine;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • small pupils.

Individuals may be addicted to this drug if they:

  • take it without a prescription;
  • alter the dose by taking more of the drug than their healthcare professional prescribes;
  • the user mixes this medication with other drugs, such as – heroin or cocaine;
  • use it for recreational purposes;
  • visit multiple healthcare professionals in an effort to obtain more of the medication;
  • become obsessed with obtaining this drug.

Tramadol vs Norco – Which Is Better To Relieve Moderate Pain?

Tramadol belongs to the group of drugs called opioid analgesics that acts in the central nervous system to relieve pain. However, it is not recommended for minor pain which may be treated adequately through less potent medicines (and fewer side effects, plus, no addiction).

On the other hand, Norco is an opioid analgesic that is used to treat moderate to fairly severe pain. Because of its potential for abuse, it is also reserved for moderate-to-severe pain which doesn’t respond well to OTC analgesics. Prior to using any of this medication, it is best to check with your healthcare professional.

Top 8 Remedies For Treating Pain Naturally

#1 Cannabis

The active ingredient in cannabis, called tetrahydrocannabinol, is a potent analgesic with proven pain-relieving attributes.

#2 Willow Bark

Some sufferers with arthritis experienced pain relief using willow bark, according to a 2001 study. Also, this natural remedy is used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.

#3 Capsaicin

It is the main active compound in chili peppers. A skin cream with about 0.075 percent capsaicin may soothe back pain, but you can apply it topically to other areas which hurt (with the exception of eyes, mouth, and genitals).

#4 Turmeric

It is a root that is part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). It has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help to treat menstrual and gastrointestinal problems and keep skin healthy.

You can use turmeric concentrated in supplement form or pill as well as you can add it to your food (especially in legumes, soups, rice, or bread).

#5 Peppermint Essential Oil

According to research, peppermint essential oil may relieve pain from headaches, particularly tension-type headaches.

#6 Lavender

Lavender reduces the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can make you feel less aware of the pain and more relaxed. Moreover, it has the capacity to reduce inflammation, promote restful sleep, prevent infections, and lower skin irritation.

#7 Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation can be an effective pain reliever. For instance, according to a study, people who attended four 20-minute classes to learn mindfulness meditation experienced notable pain relief. It involves the process of bringing your awareness to whatever is happening in the present moment.

#8 Sleep

Lack of restful sleep aggravates pain in a few ways because during sleep, the human body releases growth hormones that stimulate muscle repair. Aim for 7 hours per night and go to bed around 22.00.

#9 Exercise

According to studies, moderate physical exercise is a vital aspect of the treatment of chronic pain. Aim for at least 45 minutes of resistance training every second day.

#10 Nutrition

Consume foods rich in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant that has many properties, including brain-protective, anti-cancer, pain regulation, and life-prolonging benefits. Foods high in resveratrol include – blueberries, blackberries, red grapes, peanuts, and bilberries.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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