Tramadol Vs. Percocet | Differences & Similarities

Percocet (brand name for the combination of oxycodone/acetaminophen) and tramadol (Ultram/Conzip) have a number of similar side effects, drug interactions, and withdrawal symptoms. However, these prescription drugs are different and each belong to a different drug schedule.

Tramadol (brand names Ultram and Conzip) and Percocet (the brand name for the combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone) are medications used for pain relief. They are both offered in immediate-release or extended-release tablets, and differ in various ways.

Differences Between Tramadol & Percocet

Besides active ingredients, tramadol and Percocet are different in terms of drug schedule, abuse potential, prescribed pain level, and how they work.

Drug Schedule & Abuse Potential

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), tramadol and Percocet belong to separate drug schedules. This also means the potential for abuse is different with each prescription drug.

Percocet is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to psychological or physical dependence. 

Tramadol, however, is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it can still be abused but poses a lower risk than drugs belonging to Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III.

Pain Level

Tramadol is less habit-forming than Percocet and primarily used to help relieve acute pain or moderate to severe pain, and Percocet can be used for those suffering from chronic pain.

Percocet may have a high addiction potential compared to tramadol. However, a medical professional will ultimately make the decision regarding the type of pain medication you require based on your pain level.

How They Work

Percocet binds to opioid receptors in the brain, affecting the central nervous system (CNS). This is the reason pain relief occurs, as well as side effects such as sedation.

The strength of tramadol is low compared to Percocet. This is one of the reasons why tramadol may be prescribed to you instead of Percocet.

Similarities Between Tramadol & Percocet

Although there are some differences between these pain management medications, tramadol and Percocet have a number of similarities.

Common Side Effects

There are a number of side effects associated with tramadol and Percocet.

From common side effects to more serious symptoms, the side effects of tramadol and Percocet may consist of:

  • constipation
  • drowsiness
  • sedation
  • dry mouth
  • increase in blood pressure

As stated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), abusing either of these pain relievers can lead to more serious side effects that may include:

  • respiratory depression
  • seizures
  • nausea or vomiting
  • loss of consciousness
  • severe stomach pain
  • sudden death

Those suffering from an opioid overdose may experience clammy skin, shallow breathing, or muscle weakness. If you suspect an overdose has occurred, seek urgent medical attention and call 911 immediately.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Percocet and tramadol have similar withdrawal symptoms as well. Some of the opioid withdrawal symptoms a person can experience after abrupt discontinuation include:

  • tremors
  • sleeping problems
  • mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • cravings for the drug
  • diarrhea

Drug Interactions

In addition to the other similarities between tramadol and Percocet, these prescription pain medications have a number of drug interactions. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider regarding medical advice.

Inform your doctor of any medications you take, as various painkillers and other substances should be avoided while taking tramadol or Percocet:

  • benzodiazepines
  • alcohol
  • over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen
  • other opioids such as Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
  • muscle relaxants
  • antihistamines
  • antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Combining any CNS depressant may result in difficulty breathing or respiratory depression. Consider finding treatment if you suspect you are struggling with substance abuse.

Find Addiction Treatment Today

For information on our inpatient healthcare options regarding opioid abuse and addiction, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Oxycodone-2020_0.pdf
  2. Drug Enforcement Administration https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/tramadol.pdf
  3. Food and Drug Administration https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/040330s015,040341s013,040434s003lbl.pdf
  4. Food and Drug Administration https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/020281s032s033lbl.pdf
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids
  6. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695011.html

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: August 22, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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