Compare Tramadol vs. Percocet

Ultram (Tramadol) and Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) are both pain relievers but Tramadol is an atypical opioid pain reliever while Percocet is a combination pain medicine which combines an opioid and non-opioid pain reliever. Tramadol works well to treat severe pain and mood changes and although it's a little weaker than other opioids, it can still be addictive. Percocet is the strongest prescription combination pain medicine for as needed pain relief, but make sure you don't take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) to avoid liver problems or death.

Ultram
(Tramadol)

Percocet
(Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)

Treats moderate to severe pain. Ultram (Tramadol) works well to treat severe pain and mood changes. Although it's a little weaker than other opioids, it can still be addictive.Treats moderate to severe pain. Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) is the strongest prescription combination pain medicine for as needed pain relief, but make sure you don't take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) to avoid liver problems or death.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.585284280936455Tramadol
Reviews for Ultram (Tramadol)
61%
of people say Ultram (Tramadol) is worth it
39%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
69%
+8% vs. Ultram (Tramadol)
49%
+10% vs. Ultram (Tramadol)
15%
+1% vs. Ultram (Tramadol)
Side effects
TramadolPercocet
  • Dizziness (not vertigo) 21%
  • Flushing 12%
  • Itching 11%
  • Dry mouth 10%
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Sleep difficulty 8%
  • Positional low blood pressure 3%
More Tramadol side effects »

The Percocet FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Percocet side effects »
How it works
TramadolPercocet
Ultram (Tramadol) is an atypical opioid pain reliever. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it alters certain brain chemicals to lower pain perception and improve mood.Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) is a combination pain medicine. Oxycodone is an opioid (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid pain reliever and fever reducer.
Type of medication
TramadolPercocet
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Acetaminophen (APAP)
Prescription only
Available as
TramadolPercocet
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
Used for (click to learn more)
TramadolPercocet
Risk factors for serious side effects
TramadolPercocet
  • Higher dose
  • Using other medicines that can cause seizures
  • History of seizures
  • Alcoholism
  • Eating disorders
  • Brain infections
  • Suicidal or at risk
  • Taking other medications that affect serotonin
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • History of allergic reactions to codeine or other opioid pain relievers
  • Phenylalanine sensitivity
  • Stopping Ultram (Tramadol) suddenly
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    Detailed Ultram (Tramadol) risks & warnings »
    • Current liver disease
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines with acetaminophen
    • Age 65 or greater
    • Higher dose
    • People with not enough thyroid hormones
    • History of lung problems
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Age 65 or greater
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Long-term use
    • History of drug abuse
    • Long-term use of opioids in mother
    • Breastfeeding while taking Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
    • Children age 18 and younger
    • Taking more than prescribed dose
    • Mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact with Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
      • Age 65 years or older
      • Circulation problems
      Detailed Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      TramadolPercocet
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      • Serious side effects may include drug abuse, dependence, slowed breathing rate (respiratory depression), and death. Don't take more than your doctor prescribes or take with alcohol, illegal drugs, or other opioid pain relievers.
      • Avoid alcohol.
      • Even 1 dose of an extended-release tablet can be too much for a child so store out of reach from children. In adults, raising the dose too quickly, high doses or mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact causes overdose and death. If you suspect a child has taken Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen), or an adult has taken too much, watch them for decreased activity, extreme tiredness small pupils, and lips and fingers turning blue from low oxygen. Call 911 or go to a hospital immediately. Doctors can give a medicine that reverses the effects of Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen).
      Food
      • Take Ultram (Tramadol) with food to avoid an upset stomach.
      • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
      Kidneys and liver
      • There are different doses for people who are older or who have liver or kidney disease, so work with your doctor to get the right dose.
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      • Can make you dizzy or drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how this medicine affects you.
      • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
      • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.
      • Oxycodone, one of the medications in Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) passes into breast milk. Women with a history of long-term opioid use increase the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms in the newborn include irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremor and lack of weight gain. Opioid withdrawal in infants can be a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate medical care.
      Upsides and benefits
      TramadolPercocet
      • Relieves moderate to severe pain. It has been shown to work as well as other opioid pain medications.
      • Compared to typical opioids, it provides unique pain relief and effects on your mood when taken regularly.
      • Has a lower chance of causing breathing problems compared to other typical opioids.
      • Doesn't cause as much constipation as other opioid pain medicines. Staying hydrated and taking laxatives can help treat this side effect.
      • Combination pain medicine with an opioid component (oxycodone) and non-opioid component (acetaminophen or Tylenol) that takes advantage of different modes of pain relieve in a single pill.
      • Provides quick relief for moderate to severe pain to improve quality of life.
      • Generally considered stronger than Norco or other combination pain medicine for treating pain.
      • Good for as-needed, short-term use, but may be helpful to manage more long-term pain problems if used at the appropriate doses and intervals.
      • Lower rates of misuse compared to pure opioid medicines.
      • Can help you fall asleep easier.
      Downsides and risks
      TramadolPercocet
      • Some people think it's weaker than other opioid pain medications. It can also cause more upset stomach.
      • Like other opioid pain relievers, Tramadol has a high risk of addiction, abuse, misuse, overdose, and death. It should only be used for severe pain that requires daily, around-the-clock treatment once alternative treatments haven't worked.
      • It isn't used for short-term, as-needed pain relief.
      • It's a controlled substance regulated by the federal government. This means that your use of Ultram (Tramadol) will be tracked to prevent potential prescription abuse.
      • To get Ultram (Tramadol) in the pharmacy, you'll need to bring in a paper prescription directly from your doctor.
      • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
      • Everyone will get constipation - always stay hydrated and take stool softener or stimulant on days you're taking Percocet if you need.
      • All opioid containing medicines have the risk of physical dependence and possibility of withdrawal when used long-term.
      • The non-opioid part of Percocet, acetaminophen (Tylenol), has a high risk of liver failure and death if you take more than the maximum daily dose. Be very careful.
      • Relies on the users to be aware of how much acetaminophen (Tylenol) they are using since it is a very common ingredient in many prescription and non-prescription pain medicines.
      • Avoid alcohol.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      TramadolPercocet
      • Starts working in one hour and works best if you take it regularly.
      • Can make you dizzy or drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how this medicine affects you.
      • Take Ultram (Tramadol) with food to avoid an upset stomach.
      • There are different doses for people who are older or who have liver or kidney disease, so work with your doctor to get the right dose.
      • Swallow the extended-release tablets whole. They're designed to release the drug slowly and breaking, crushing, or chewing them could cause a serious overdose.
      • This is a combination pain medication. It contains both an opioid medicine, and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
      • Starts working in 30 minutes.
      • Works best if you take it as soon as you start feeling pain.
      • Pain relief lasts 4-6 hours.
      • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
      • Avoid activities need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
      • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
      • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and using laxatives can help.
      • Don't take more than instructed to prevent liver damage.
      • Use it for the shortest time possible, and at the lowest dose possible, to lower your chance of becoming addicted.
      • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't work well enough to relieve your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
      Learn more
      More about TramadolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about PercocetSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert