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What is tramadol?

Tramadol is a painkiller that belongs to a type of medicine called ‘opioids’ that act on the central nervous system. Tramadol is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.

What types of tramadol are available?

Tramadol can come in capsules, soluble tablets, modified release tablets or capsules, or can be given as an injection in hospital.

How does tramadol work?

Tramadol works by acting on specific nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain to relieve pain. Your child should feel less pain within half an hour of being given this medicine.

What dose of tramadol will my child have?

Your doctor will work out the amount of tramadol that is right for your child and give you with a prescription for this.

What if my child is sick?


If your child is sick after having a dose of tramadol do not give them another dose. Instead giving them alternative pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen until the next dose is due.

Can other medicines be given at the same time?

Tramadol should not be taken with some other medicines. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the compatibility of tramadol and the other medicines your child is taking.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be given with tramadol unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.

What if I forget to give my child their dose?

If your child is in pain, give them the missed dose as soon as you remember.

Never double dose to catch up on missed doses.

What if I give my child too much tramadol?

Taking too much tramadol can be very dangerous. If you think you have given your child too much tramadol, you must contact your doctor or local NHS service immediately.

Are there any side effects to tramadol?

We aim to make children better with medicines, but sometimes they have other effects we do not want.

You should see your doctor immediately if your child shows signs of an allergic reaction to this medicine, such as wheezing, swelling or hives (a raised red itchy area).

When should I contact a doctor?

You must contact your doctor immediately if your child has:

  • an irregular or fast heartbeat
  • irregular breathing
  • hallucinations (sees things that are not there)
  • slow breathing or is very drowsy

Other side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • feeling sick
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • sleepy or drowsy
  • headaches
  • pins and needles
  • change in mood
  • sleep disturbances

If your child experiences any side effects that worry you, let your doctor or nurse know.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Keep this medication out of reach from other children.

Store this medication in a cupboard away from heat and direct sunlight.

Repeat prescriptions will need to be supplied by your GP.

Contact us

If you have any more questions or concerns, please speak to your discharging ward, local pharmacist or the hospital Pain Team.

You can contact your discharging ward or find out the availability of the Pain Team from the hospital switchboard on 0114 271 7000.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

Contact us


Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PAI11

Resource Type: Article

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Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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