tramadol and acetaminophen, Ultracet

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: tramadol and acetaminophen

BRAND NAME: Ultracet

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Ultracet is a combination of two drugs, tramadol (Ultram) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) that is used to relieve moderate, acute pain such as pain following dental or surgical procedures. Tramadol and acetaminophen each relieve pain, but they do so by different mechanisms. Tramadol achieves pain relief in two ways. It binds to the -opioid receptor on nerves (the same mechanism that is responsible for the effectives of narcotics, such as morphine), and it also inhibits the reuptake by nerves of two neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine, that the nerves use to communicate with one another. This inhibition may lead to reduced transmission of pain signals from nerve to nerve in the spinal cord and brain. Acetaminophen achieves pain relief in the spinal cord and brain by increasing the threshold to pain, that is, by increasing the strength of the painful stimulus that is necessary in order to give rise to the sensation of pain. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme that makes prostaglandins. Ultracet was approved by the FDA in 2001.

STORAGE: Ultracet should be stored at room temperature, between 15 and 30 C (59-86 F). It should be kept out of the reach of children.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Ultracet is used to for the short-term (up to five days) relief of moderately-severe, acute pain.

SIDE EFFECTS: Ultracet usually is well-tolerated. The most common side effects are:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/28/2015

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