Send to

Choose Destination
Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2009 Dec;18(12):1192-8. doi: 10.1002/pds.1838.

Tramadol dependence: a survey of spontaneously reported cases in Sweden.

Author information

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.



Tramadol is a weak opioid analgesic, which is generally considered to be safe. However, conflicting data exist on the dependence potential of tramadol.


The aim of this study was to investigate occurrence of tramadol dependence and associated risk factors using spontaneously reported adverse drug reactions.


The Swedish database for spontaneously reported adverse drug reactions, Swedish Drug Information System (SweDIS), was searched for reports on tramadol dependence from 1 January 1995 until 31 December 2006. Selection was conducted based on the DSM-IV definition of dependence. Available information was scrutinised and registered and then presented descriptively.


A total of 104 reports of tramadol dependence were identified, of which 60 (58%) concerned women. The median age (range) was 45 (15-84) years. Information on a history of substance abuse was present in 31 patients (30%) and 41 patients (39%) had a documented past or current use of a drug of abuse. Prescribed doses of tramadol ranged between 50-800 mg/day, and ingested doses between 50-4000 mg/day. Time of onset ranged from some weeks up to 4 years. In 72 (69%) cases the reaction was classified as serious, mainly due to hospitalisations for detoxification or discontinuation of tramadol.


There is an occurrence of tramadol dependence in association with analgesic treatment within the recommended dose range. In susceptible patients a severe and serious dependence syndrome may develop. A history of abuse or use of a drug of abuse seems to be an important risk factor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center