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Tramadol (By mouth)

Treats moderate to severe pain.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Tramadol is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain, including pain after surgery. The extended-release or long-acting tablets are used for chronic ongoing pain. Tramadol belongs to the group of medicines called opioid analgesics. It acts in the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. When tramadol is used for a long time, it may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical… Read more
Brand names include
ConZip, FusePaq Synapryn, Rybix ODT, Ryzolt, Theratramadol-60, Theratramadol-90, Ultram, Ultram ER
Drug classes About this
Analgesic
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Adverse event profile of tramadol in recent clinical studies of chronic osteoarthritis pain

This review assessed the safety of long-acting formulations of tramadol hydrochloride in the treatment of chronic osteoarthritis pain and concluded that differences in formulations may influence rates of adverse events. However, these differences should be interpreted with caution. Potential bias in the review, heterogeneity among studies and their unclear quality, support the authors' recommendation to interpret the findings with caution.

Role of tramadol in premature ejaculation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Objective: This systematic review was performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tramadol in patients with premature ejaculation (PE). Methods: A systematic search of PubMed®, Embase® and the Cochrane Library was performed to identify all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the effects of tramadol with placebo or no drug for patients with PE. The outcomes included post-therapeutic intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT), increases in IELT, satisfaction with sexual intercourse, control over ejaculation and side effects (SEs). The Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager software (RevMan 5.1.4) was used for statistical analysis. Results: A total of 5 trials, involving 715 patients, met the inclusion criteria. The synthesized data from these RCTs indicated that compared with the control, tramadol significantly increased IELT values post-therapeutically (SMD 3.51, 95% CI 2.14-4.88, p < 0.00001) and changes in IELT values were more pronounced in the tramadol group (SMD 2.87, 95% CI 2.63-3.10, p < 0.00001). Satisfaction with sexual intercourse and the ability to control ejaculation were both improved in patients in the tramadol group (p < 0.05). The incidence of SEs in the tramadol group were significantly higher than in the control group (RR 3.55, 95% CI 1.34-9.40, p = 0.01), however most SEs were mild or moderate and transient. Conclusions: Tramadol may be effective in PE treatment, especially when patients have failed therapies, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. However, the possibility of drug addiction and SEs should still be considered before initial use or after chronic use of this agent. More high-quality (clear randomization sequences, allocation concealment and blinding introduction), long-term, RCTs with a large number of PE patients are expected. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Comparison of the postoperative analgesic efficacy of intravenous patient-controlled analgesia with tramadol to intravenous patient-controlled analgesia with opioids

BACKGROUND: Intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IV PCA) with tramadol is an accepted method to deliver postoperative analgesia outside North America; however, the analgesic efficacy of this analgesic agent when compared with IVPCA with opioids is uncertain. As such, the authors undertook a systematic review to compare the analgesic efficacy of IVPCA tramadol with that of IVPCA with opioids.

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Summaries for consumers

Tramadol for neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is frequently caused by damage to the peripheral nerves. Symptoms may include burning or shooting sensations, and abnormal sensitivity to normally non‐painful stimuli. Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat. Anticonvulsants and antidepressants are frequently used but their use is limited by side effects. Tramadol is a unique pain killing drug with mild opiate properties.

Tramadol for osteoarthritis

There is gold level evidence that to treat osteoarthritis, tramadol taken for up to three months may decrease pain, may improve stiffness and function and overall‐well being. Tramadol may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, constipation, tiredness, and headache.

Dextropropoxyphene in a single dose taken on its own and also with paracetamol to treat postoperative pain

This review assessed the analgesic efficacy and adverse effects that single dose oral dextropropoxyphene taken alone or in combination with paracetamol had in treating moderate to severe postoperative pain. The combination of dextropropoxyphene 65 mg with paracetamol 650 mg showed similar efficacy to that of tramadol 100 mg for single dose studies in postoperative pain but with a lower incidence of side effects. This review also highlighted that Ibuprofen 400 mg was yet more effective than both tramadol 100 mg and dextropropoxyphene 65 mg.

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