Where Tramadol Causes Harm: Claims for Damages

In several recent very sad cases, people have died after taking a Tramadol overdose. It may be that there is a trend here, and if so we need to take notice.

Our experience: 2 avoidable deaths

In one recent case, the Coroner heard from the deceased’s family about her secret addiction to Tramadol. She had been taking an increasing amount of the drug, and although she did not mean to take her own life, the post mortem report showed that she had been taking too much. This caused fits and led to her death.

The Coroner criticised how easy it had been for her to get prescriptions from her family doctor. She had lied about losing her tablets and needing more for extended holidays. She claimed that some was for her family and so she had been given more than the recommended maximum. As a result she was able to take more than she should. Tragically, she died as a result.

In another case, a patient with a long history of lung disease was given Tramadol. This is a medication which should not be given to people with breathing disorders. The woman died.

We know of other stories. Tramadol used correctly can help people with serious pain, but used wrongly its effects can be tragic.

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a strong pain killer very regularly prescribed by doctors for relief from medium to severe pain. It is stronger than readily available over the counter pain killers such as paracetamol and ibruprofen and is considered safer than some other drugs available on prescription. It is a controlled drug and has to be prescribed by a doctor.

Tramadol: Is it safe?

When taken in accordance with the guidelines, it is usually a safe drug. But Tramadol comes with quite a long list of side effects ranging from sickness and dizziness, to fits, breathing difficulties and even death. Risks can be far worse when used with other drugs, or alcohol. There has been a recent increase in reported deaths from Tramadol “toxicity” (ie too much tramadol in the body).

Tramadol: Is it addictive?

Some will say that it is not, but others disagree. It can be difficult to wean yourself off of. When used regularly over long periods of time, your body builds up a tolerance to the drug, meaning that you feel less benefit unless you increase the dose. This results in patients being tempted to take more than the recommended amounts, which can be very dangerous. Generally, the risk of addiction is thought to increase if Tramadol is used contrary to the recommended guidelines.

Ant McPartlin’s struggle

Ant McPartlin (of the successful TV double act, Ant and Dec) earlier this year publicly announced his difficulties with drug and alcohol addiction. He wanted to help raise awareness of the problems with addiction in using drugs such as Tramadol, and to encourage support for those who are struggling in the same way as he was when he admitted himself to a rehabilitation clinic.

Tramadol: Negligent Prescriptions

Although Tramadol is generally a safe drug when taken correctly, it is important that it is prescribed correctly. Our experience is that sometimes it is not. There are sadly some occasions where people are either given it when they should not have been, or are given too much. The consequences can be very serious. In some cases patients, or the families of people who have died, may have a right to bring a claim for damages.

Ceri-Ann Taylor is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Enable Law in Taunton. Ceri is currently acting for families who have lost loved ones as a result of a Tramadol overdose. Should you wish to speak to Ceri, she will be happy to offer you a free consultation and she can be contacted on 03303 116 855 or 07880 384 667.