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Grand Mal Seizure on Tramadol

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Eurotrash View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 12:46am
Hi everyone - this is my first post to this forum.

I have a question to see if I am the only person that ever experienced this. Last weekend I was driving home from a nice dinner with my wife and a friend when next thing I know I am lying on the side of the road with paramedics over me who are getting ready to load me into an ambulance. I had suffered a grand mal seizure while driving.

I guess I am/we are lucky considering; my wife broke her elbow, our friend had bumps and bruises, my car is totaled, and I ended up in the hospital - bruised ribs, a badly bitten tongue, blood coming out of my mouth, nose and several black and blue marks over my body. Because of my seizure, I ended up driving into a redwood tree at 45 mph. The apparent cause? Ultram.

I have been dealing with chronic pain for many years - I have been on Ultram and Norco for four years. Sadly I recently found out that people can suffer a seizure from Ultram, even if they had never had one before. I recently started talking to my doctor about my concerns about this when I became one of the unlucky to suffer this side effect.

I stopped taking Ultram (I am really scared of it now) and my Dr is prescribing me Percocet instead. I am not asking for medical advise, but I wanted to know if anyone else here has experienced that same side effect? How did you deal with it? Is this a common thing? Is it a reoccurring ordeal? I feel like my life has been turned upside down. Any information is greatly appreciated.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinkerbell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 6:15am
Hi Eurotrash, I'm in Ontario, Cda, and actually tramadol has it appears just finally been approved here and one of our members was just starting it last night I believe?

That must have been terrifying for you and your wife and friend, and thank goodness everyone was ok.
I do have to ask though, how do they know for sure that it was the Tramadol that caused the seizure?  (Just an after thought, it seems strange that after 4 yrs you would get a seizure now?)  Did they do any tests to see if it could be something else causing a seizure to that degree?  Honestly I personally don't think we have anyone here that has had a seizure from Tramadol, Eurotrash, and I do have to say I'm feeling rather skeptical that they've just put it down to the med.  I'd be asking for further testing to make absolute sure that there was nothing else that could have possibly caused this grand mal seizure, it's too easy to blame the drug, ya know?  I don't mean to worry or frighten you and if I am I apologize, but this "diagnosis" for the seizure really does concern me.

Would also love to hear more about you in regards to what kind of chronic pain you suffer from, it is in your discs, a disease or syndrome?  I'm very glad that you found us and hope that you stay with us your experiences etc could very well help others here too.

Take care and looking forward to more posts!
Donna


Edited by Tinkerbell - Mar/12/2010 at 6:18am
L1/L2 protrusion with a piece migrating
L4/L5 small bulge
L5/S1 bone on bone, non-operable
DDD and osteoarthritis
2000 disc herniation L5-S1 had micro discectomy, failed. Right leg/foot numbness & sciatica. Permanent nerve damage in right leg/foot along with radiculopathy and neuropathic pain and Drop foot.
SI Joint & Facet Joint Injections with some relief.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dizzyalways Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 6:42am
hello, i am so sorry to hear about ur ordeal and thank god it wasnt more serious!
i am on tramadol and have been on and off for 5 years due to a condition in my back.
i ahve sezuires which did not start untill about a year after taking the tramadol. the doctor put them down to the tablets and then stoped them for a year and put me on codiene, all the time i was still having siezures,which they said can still happen a few years down the lien even if you are not taking teh tablets.
they then decided to try other options by doing tests etc. they also put me back on the tramadol.
up to now i have had everything in my body checked that can be, iv had all over scans to check for tumors, had my heart and my brain checked and did not find anything that could cause these attack,so now they have gave up.
they put me on epilepsy tablets 2 years ago although there was no evidence of me having it.i know i should have consulted my doctor but i stoped taking the epilepsy tablets and my siezures have reduced dramatically. i still have the attacks, although they have gone from 3-4 a month to 1-2 every few months. it just seems that the doctors dont care, or cant be botherd.
i have a young girl (2yrs) and these sezuires make life alot harder. i am on tramadol for scheaumanns disease in my back and a slipped disc, whenever i have an attack it knocks my disc out and i am then left in a wheelchair for anything from a few weeks to a few months. but if i dont take them then i cant move anyway, so it is catch 22.
i sincerley hope that your attack was a one off and good luck xx
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Katmary Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 7:07am
Eurotrash and DizzyAlways

Oh my gosh Eurotrash, how frightening for you! I'm so glad both you and your wife survived your accident.  I used to live in Santa Cruz and know it takes a lot to budge a Redwood, I'm so grateful you and your wife survived!  Disapprove  I'd be terrified of Ultram as well! I actually haven't heard about this happening, at least until Dizzy Alway's post! That's so scary, I can see why you both are upset about this side effect, that's for sure! It seems like you two joined together on the same day for a reason, to help one another. Smile

I think what's even more frightening is that it can keep on happening after quitting.  I've never taken Ultram, though have taken anti-seizure meds for nerve pain for a long time now and thank goodness, haven't had a seizure.  Dizzy Always, I am so sorry to hear yours have been continuing even after being off Ultram for so long.  DA, have you been doing better since you stopped the anti-epilepsy meds or did they stop the seizures? I'm so sorry you haven't been helped further, you'd think something could be done to help you!

I'm sure Stevie will post on this soon and will likely have more information for you.  I really do hope this was your first and last Euro.  Dizzy, I hope yours continue to go away and/or you find someone to help you (angers me that you haven't been properly helped!).

Hug
Kat
1991 Disc Excision L5-S1 for herniated disc.

1996 During routine laparoscopy for endometriosis, had multiple pelvic and bladder nerves burned, resulting in neuralgia and dysfunction of nerves & organs in left pelvis, leg, groin, etc.. Have tried many treatments with varying success.

4/28&30/08 ALIF & PLIF L4-S1 for congenital stenosis, re-herniation,disk tears.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 8:29am
Good Morning Eurotrash and Dizzyalways,
 
Thank you both for posting and bringing up this subject. 
 
Yes, there have been reported cases of people on Ultram and seizures and it is in the literature.  While I have not read up on it at great length, it would appear that it may be dose related---ie. the larger the dose of Ultram (tramadol), the greater the chance of seizure threshold being lowered.  Also, people on antidepressants (SSRI's) along with the tramadol have a greater chance of having a seizure.
 
As with all medications, we risk side effects, and this is one that none of us ever wants. 
 
My question, Eurotrash, was what dosage were you on, and also are/were you taking an SSRI class of antidepressant when this happened?
 
I have taken plain 50mg tramadol tablets for several years.  However, not on a regular basis.  Mostly only when my pain is mild.  If it becomes more severe, I don't find that the tramadol works and then go to 5-10mg of oxycodone.
 
I am glad that both of you are OK, and would really like to know more about the doses of the meds you were both on.  Thank you very much for starting this thread, and welcome to both of you.  Stevie

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The information and articles provided on our website are designed to support, not replace the relationship between patients and physicians.

Spinal Fusions L5-S1 and L4-L5. Recent changes now with diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis with neurogenic claudication. To have multi-levl posterior fusion with laminectomy and decompression of L2-3 L3-4 and fusion and revision of L4-5 L5-1 with instrumentation. Cervical DDD, stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and facet arthropathy throughout cervical spine from C3-C7. Thoracic Spine: dextroconvex curvature of the thoracic spine, centered at approximately T8.(Scoliosis with 20 degree curve). At T7-8, a disc bulge. Degenerative disc disease T7-T9. Disc dessication from T3-T11.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spicey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 8:56am
Oh my gosh, I can't imagine how terrifying that must have been for all involved. I guess you are lucky not to have been more seriously hurt.  My only experience with tramadol is that it made me feel extremely unwell and I had to stop taking it pretty soon after I started.

I hope you manage to find another suitable medication and that the seizure was a one-off.  Take care and keep in touch,

Spicey
41 yrs old, chronic pain for 20 years.
Decompression/stabilisation surgery with Dynesys Apr'04, revision with PLIF fusion Oct'08, SCS installed Apr'10. Injured neck in a stair fall in July '09.
Failed Back Surgery Sydrome & Fibromyalgia diagnosed 2011.
Mobility is poor & I use a wheelchair/scooter outside of the house. Also suffer from anxiety & depression.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dbarbeau48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 10:43am
Sorry to hear about your seizures. I do know that a combination of Tramadol and Flexeril (muscle relaxant) can cause seizures if taken in take dosages. I'm on both Tramadol, 50 mg., and Flexeril,10 mg., 3 times a day and have been for 4 years with no ill effects.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 11:13am
I think that one thing that we have to clear up as far as tramadol and seizures go is that from some of the literature, there appears not to be an increase in seizures among people taking plain tramadol alone.  By plain tramadol, I am talking about Tramadol 50mg. tablets.
 
Here is where some of the confusion lies.  Dick and I take plain Tramadol 50mg tablets.  This is an IR (immediate release) form of the drug that can be taken every 6 hours.  Yes, if mixed with certain other medications, there can be a decrease in a person's seizure threshold and a small % of people, who may have a predisposition to seizures may experience them.  I am not aware that plain tramadol 50mg is available in many countries other than the US.  I would love to know if our members outside of the US can clear that up.
 
Ultram (it is called many different names depending upon the Country you live in) is the ER (extended release) form of the drug.  It is taken once a day.  It comes in strengths of 100-300mg.  I am thinking that at that high level, again mixed with other medications the risk of seizures is higher.
 
Knowing what we have heard, anyone who is taking an SSRI antidepressant, or as Dick mentioned Flexeril, and has a predisposition to seizures should be monitored very carefully if placed on either plain Tramadol or Ultram (again sold under many names).  Or, personally, I would ask for another pain medication.
 
This is a really informative thread, and would love to hear from anyone else on this.  Stevie

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The information and articles provided on our website are designed to support, not replace the relationship between patients and physicians.

Spinal Fusions L5-S1 and L4-L5. Recent changes now with diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis with neurogenic claudication. To have multi-levl posterior fusion with laminectomy and decompression of L2-3 L3-4 and fusion and revision of L4-5 L5-1 with instrumentation. Cervical DDD, stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and facet arthropathy throughout cervical spine from C3-C7. Thoracic Spine: dextroconvex curvature of the thoracic spine, centered at approximately T8.(Scoliosis with 20 degree curve). At T7-8, a disc bulge. Degenerative disc disease T7-T9. Disc dessication from T3-T11.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stacey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 12:30pm
Wow, scary event for you Euro. Sorry you had to go through that. I was on Flexeril, antidepressants and Tramadol all at the same time for a few months. No effects, no relief. I do know someone who did get seizures while on tramadol. His doctors chalked it up to his recently stopping (withdrawing) off of narcotics. As far as I know he is still on tramadol, and still having small seizures occasionally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eurotrash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 10:11pm
Thank you all for the kind words and feedback. There's no other place that I could have gone for the info you have given me.

The total regimen of meds I was on were;
- 50mg tramadol - 2 tabs, 3 times per day
- norco 10/325 1 tab, 3 times per day

Then very recently I was prescribed Flexiril - and I've read what some of you have stated - that Flexiril + Tramadol = bad news. I only took Flexiril rarely - but perhaps it triggered my event. I will certainly take this up with my Dr. Since the event I have stopped taking Tramadol - and its a nasty drug to stop taking after 4 years - but I'm scared sh*tless! My Dr replaced it with Percocet. I feel I'm being drugged into oblivion and am starting to think that I may have to accept the pain - and give up the meds.

About my condition - I have a pars fracture (a big one - not a hairline fracture) of the L5 causing stenosis, and a herniated L5-S1. I was injured during my military service and it has been something I have come to live with.

I do get epidural nerve blocks - and they are the only thing that really help my pain - the problem is that I can't have them that often.

Based on the info you have given me here I will approach my Dr and I want to make sure that I never ever have an episode like this again - the outcome could have been much worse and I consider myself lucky considering.

Thanks to all you kind people - your help is so much appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bigcat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2010 at 10:33pm
Here is a link for you...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tramado
Moderate disc protrusion at L-5 S-1 midly indenting the vertral surface of the thecal sac andcontacting both S1 nerves , meds Vicadin 10mg    neurotin 1200mg ..robaxin 7.5mg ,nortriplyne 100mg ....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote razzle51 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/13/2010 at 5:07am
I wouldnt think it was the tramadol if you have been on it for 4 yrs.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Merlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/13/2010 at 6:56am
I take two 50 mg Tramadol for breakthrough pain when I have had eight codeine and tylenol tablets inside 24 hours - or if I have had my codeine tablets and two hours later they aren't controlling the pain
 
I haven't had any trouble with them - I do not take them every day - it is rare for me to take more than one dose of two tablets - sometimes I only have one
 
It depends
 
But one thing I feel it's appropriate to mention is that the MOAIs (Can't spell it - it's bedtime here in Aus) the antidepressent drugs that include Parnate - can't be taken with any narcotics - this has terrible side FX and the time that I was on Parnate I got to scared to eat nearly anything
 
And Aged Protein is forbidden, along with banana skins (does anyone eat banana skins) - broad bean pods - ahhhhhhhh - I lived on jam sandwiches -
 
Also I got high blood pressure - I was so hyped up I was crushed with violend headaches and I went to a clinic just off the street one night and the doctor there told me to stop taking Parnate and see my doctor asap and I was taken off the Parnate. I think Nardyl is another one in that group
 
BTW - this was not any use to me at all - I was better without it - we all have down-times
 
Lin
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/13/2010 at 10:28am
Euro--
 
A question for you.  Has no one discussed fusing L5-S1 for you? With the herniation, stenosis and fracture I am wondering why you may not be a surgical candidate. 
 
Also, Lin is correct that tramadol cannot be taken with MAOI antidepressants as well as the SSRI type.  There are many drugs that interact with each other, and that is where the importance lies of having both health care provider as well as pharmacist double check everything that we take.
 
It is good to have you here, and glad to know that you are OK.  Stevie

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.


The information and articles provided on our website are designed to support, not replace the relationship between patients and physicians.

Spinal Fusions L5-S1 and L4-L5. Recent changes now with diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis with neurogenic claudication. To have multi-levl posterior fusion with laminectomy and decompression of L2-3 L3-4 and fusion and revision of L4-5 L5-1 with instrumentation. Cervical DDD, stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and facet arthropathy throughout cervical spine from C3-C7. Thoracic Spine: dextroconvex curvature of the thoracic spine, centered at approximately T8.(Scoliosis with 20 degree curve). At T7-8, a disc bulge. Degenerative disc disease T7-T9. Disc dessication from T3-T11.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eurotrash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/14/2010 at 5:41pm
Hi Stevie,

I am indeed a candidate for fusion surgery. I have not been able to get it done, but should be able to get it soon. Its a long story - in the meantime I have been managing the pain with meds. I'm off the tramadol now- and will manage with norco and percocet for the time being. Hopefully I will be off all meds after my surgery. This has been one scary experience - and thanks for all the well wishes.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/14/2010 at 6:32pm
Euro---
 
I really do hope that you can get this nightmare overwith soon.  I am the very proud recipient of two 100% successful lumbar fusions.  One of the reasons that this website began, was not due to my having problems with my lumbar spine, it was because the  DDD that got my lumbar spine took over the rest of my spine.
 
So, get the best NS or OS you can find and have the fusion.
 
In the meantime-Percocet is simply oxycodone plus tylenol.  I do use oxycodone for my thoracic/neck pain when it gets bad.  I chose the plain oxcocdone so that I am not compromising my liver with tylenol.
 
I am really hoping that you are going to have a very successful outcome with this.  Stevie


Edited by Stevie - Mar/14/2010 at 6:39pm

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The information and articles provided on our website are designed to support, not replace the relationship between patients and physicians.

Spinal Fusions L5-S1 and L4-L5. Recent changes now with diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis with neurogenic claudication. To have multi-levl posterior fusion with laminectomy and decompression of L2-3 L3-4 and fusion and revision of L4-5 L5-1 with instrumentation. Cervical DDD, stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and facet arthropathy throughout cervical spine from C3-C7. Thoracic Spine: dextroconvex curvature of the thoracic spine, centered at approximately T8.(Scoliosis with 20 degree curve). At T7-8, a disc bulge. Degenerative disc disease T7-T9. Disc dessication from T3-T11.


NATIONAL SUICIDE HELPLINE 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
http://www.crisisclinic.org/
IN THE UK 0845790 90 90
http://www.samaritans.org/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dizzyalways Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/15/2010 at 6:13am
hello, i am from the uk so yeh can get tramadol outside us.
i am taking
tramadol 300mg a day (100mg 3 times)
citalopram 50mg a day (which they started me on after the tramadol)
i was on lamotragine 300mg a day
tehy started me on the citalopram because i said i was ghetting down about taking so many tablets and beong out of it for most of the day, does any1 else think tat is just backwards? lol
i stopped taking the citalopram and lamotragine at the same tiem and now i look back on it i stopped them about 9 months ago and not had a seizure in 6 months. so it could be the tablets mixing?
and so called specialists have had 3 years and not come up with an answer, just upped teh dose on everything! thanku everyone by the way, you do sit there sometimes and think your the only one going through it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/15/2010 at 8:30am
Dizzy--
 
As you have probably read from the posts above, Citalopram (Celexa) is in the class of SSRI antidepressants.  When SSRI antidepressants are mixed with tramadol the potential for having a seizure is increased.  So someone should have looked at that before starting you on the Citalopram.  As you have not had a seizure since you stopped that drug, it would indicate that there is a chance that the combination of the two medications may have caused the seizures.
 
However, knowing that you are prone to seizures, and knowing that tramadol may lower seizure threshold, I would be asking that my pain medication be changed.  There are many other choices out there.
 
I agree that it is wrong to continue to just increase the amount of a medication.  My thinking is that after a period of time something isn't working once a person is on a fair amount of it, than stop it and switch over to something else.
 
Dizzy, you can start a thread of your own in one of the forums that you feel fits you and let us all know what has been going on with you so that our members can give you some thoughts and suggestions.  We would like to get to know you better, and have many members here from the UK.  Best wishes, Stevie

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.


The information and articles provided on our website are designed to support, not replace the relationship between patients and physicians.

Spinal Fusions L5-S1 and L4-L5. Recent changes now with diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis with neurogenic claudication. To have multi-levl posterior fusion with laminectomy and decompression of L2-3 L3-4 and fusion and revision of L4-5 L5-1 with instrumentation. Cervical DDD, stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and facet arthropathy throughout cervical spine from C3-C7. Thoracic Spine: dextroconvex curvature of the thoracic spine, centered at approximately T8.(Scoliosis with 20 degree curve). At T7-8, a disc bulge. Degenerative disc disease T7-T9. Disc dessication from T3-T11.


NATIONAL SUICIDE HELPLINE 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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