How to Spot Fake Tramadol

What is tramadol?

Tramadol is a prescription narcotic-like pain reliever. The extended-release form of tramadol is for around-the-clock treatment of pain. The extended-release form of tramadol is not for use on an as-needed basis for pain. Tramadol is a centrally acting analgesic with a multimode of action. It acts on serotonergic and noradrenergic nociception, while its metabolite O-desmethyl tramadol acts on the µ-opioid receptor. Its analgesic potency is claimed to be about one-tenth that of morphine.

Fake tramadol can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Perhaps they have been falsified or deliberately mislabeled. Illicit medicines often contain the wrong amount of active ingredients (too little, too much, or none at all). Some fake medicines have been found to contain mercury, arsenic, rat poison, or cement. In other cases, the medicines may be genuine but have been stolen and then badly stored or may have expired. This means they could be ineffective or contaminated. According to the BBC, West Africa is awash with Fake Tramadol, in July, 920,000 fake tramadol tablets from the Indian city of Mumbai were intercepted at Lagos airport. These pills were likely destined for markets in northern Nigeria where abuse of the drug is rampant. Earlier in the year, Italian police seized a huge shipment of Tramadol, thought to be destined for the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Libya. The cargo of opiates, worth an estimated 50m euros (£44m), was intercepted in Gioia Tauro, a port in the far south of Italy. SEE: White Pill 377


How can we spot fake tramadol pills?

Counterfeit tramadol is often packaged to a high standard with fake pills that look identical to genuine ones. Sometimes a laboratory test is the only way to identify the difference. It is essential to take care when buying your medicines, especially online. Look out for the “six Ps”:

Place – Never buy tramadol from unknown websites or in a marketplace. Buy medicines only from licensed suppliers who display an authenticity certificate. If you are unsure about a supplier’s credentials, check the list of registered dispensaries at your local health regulatory body. This applies to suppliers both online and offline.

Prescriptions – Only buy medicine that has been prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional. When buying online, make sure the website requires you to present a prescription for tramadol. Do not buy from websites that offer prescriptions on the basis of questionnaires or do not have a contactable pharmacist.

Promises – Be wary of pharmacies that offer “too good to be true” promises.  False promises to watch out for are “cures all types” of a major illness, “money-back guarantee”, “no risk” or “limited supply – buy in advance”.

Price – Check the price of tramadol against products you usually buy or with reputable providers. If it is substantially cheaper, it is likely to be a fake.

Privacy – Do not supply any financial information to a website, unless you are sure it has a secure online payment system. The trade-in fake medical products have also been linked to credit card fraud and identity theft. Do not reveal any personal information beyond appropriate medical details.

Product – Compare the tramadol against your usual prescription. A medicine is fake if:


  • It contains too much, too little, or any different ingredients;


  • Claims to have different properties or side effects;


  • Has a different shape, size, taste, or colour;


  • It’s not correctly labeled or not labeled at all;


  • Has an out-of-date or missing expiry date;


  • Does not contain information on how to store the medicine;


  • The packaging looks poorly constructed or appears to have interfered with;


  • There are spelling or grammatical errors on the packaging or instructions.


If you’ve seen it, report it!

If you think you have used a fake tramadol or medical product, contact the pharmacy where you purchased it and your healthcare professional. If you suspect you have seen fake medical products for sale (either online or offline), report it to your local police or health regulatory authority. SEE: Does Tramadol Show Up On A Drug Test


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