Vicodin vs. Ultram: Painkillers Exposed

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Difference between Vicodin and Ultram

It is an unfortunate fact of life that physical pain is bound to occur at one point or another in each of our lives and along with that comes the need for pain relievers. While such medications do indeed serve an essential purpose, they do involve a certain amount of risks with overdoses and side effects being only some of the more significant ones. Two of the most popular pain relievers–Vicodin and Ultram–have come under scrutiny for these very reasons, and they are now the subject of this comparison article.


Vicodin is composed of a combination of the pain relievers acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone belongs in the category of narcotic pain relievers, and while acetaminophen is a much less potent pain reliever, it does have the effect of increasing the effects of hydrocodone. Vicodin is often prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain.

Ultram for its part is a pain reliever with properties similar to narcotics, although it doesn’t actually belong in that category. It is also known as tramadol, and is typically prescribed for the moderate to severe pain relief. Ultram also has the benefit of being an extended-release medication, which allows it to provide around the clock relief.

What To Tell Your Doctor

Before taking Vicodin, you should inform your doctor if you take more than 3 alcoholic drinks a day, or if you have ever been diagnosed with cirrhosis. You should also be aware that taking any medication that contains acetaminophen is not a good idea if you are on Vicodin. You should also make sure to tell your doctor if the medication doesn't appear to have an effect on reliving your pain.

Keep in mind that an Ultram overdose can be fatal, and you should seek medical attention immediately if you feel you have taken too much. Symptoms of Ultram overdose include drowsiness, impaired breathing, reduced heartbeat rate, unusual weakness, cold or clammy skin, light-headedness, and fainting. Ultram is also habit-forming and you should inform your doctor immediately if the medication doesn't seem to be working.


The hydrocodone ingredient in Vicodin is habit-forming, so the medication should only be used by the person that it was prescribed. Vicodin may also cause certain side effects that may impair mental function and physical reaction. For this reason, it is important not to take Vicodin when driving or operating heavy machinery.

Ultram may also impair mental function and physical reaction, so the same precautions should be taken as when taking Vicodin. Going off Ultram suddenly may also cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, unusual sweating, diarrhea, nausea, hallucinations, insomnia, and breathing difficulty.



  • Belongs to the category of narcotic pain relievers
  • Contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone
  • Is prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain
  • Is habit-forming


  • Is a pain reliever with properties similar to narcotics
  • Also known as tramadol
  • Overdose can be fatal
  • May impair mental function and physical reaction

Which painkiller is easier to tolerate?
  • Vicodin
  • Ultram

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