Tramadol comes as capsules, tablets, and extended-release tablets. Carefully follow your doctor's directions for taking tramadol. If your doctor has prescribed tramadol extended-release tablets, swallow them whole. Never break, crush, or chew tramadol, because this can cause too much medicine to be released into your body at once. Your doctor may advise that you always take tramadol either with or without food. Be consistent and follow your doctor's recommendations as to when and how to take tramadol.