Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD
- Tramadol is often thought of as a mild-opiate to use for analgesia, but it is a more complicated drug
- Tramadol needs to be metabolized into an effective drug making it not pharmacologically reliable
- 3-10% of people cannot metabolize tramadol and it does not work
- Some others over-metabolize tramadol and it causes greater effect
- Studies have shown it is not any better as a acetaminophen or ibuprofen for analgesia, it can lower a seizure threshold, and it acts to inhibit serotonin reuptake
- Recent study evaluated all-cause mortality of tramadol compared to codeine and found tramadol had nearly double the all-cause mortality as those prescribed codeine
- Overall tramadol has many risks and should be critically evaluated before prescribing
Dhesi M, Maldonado KA, Maani CV. Tramadol. [Updated 2021 May 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537060/
Association of tramadol vs codeine prescription dispensation with mortality and other adverse clinical outcomes Xie J, Strauss VY, Martinez-Laguna D, et al. JAMA. 2021;326(15):1504-1515.
Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD
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