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Questions & Answers
Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
Seizures have been reported in patients receiving tramadol hydrochloride within the recommended dosage range. Spontaneous postmarketing reports indicate that seizure risk is increased with doses of tramadol hydrochloride above the recommended range.
Concomitant use of tramadol hydrochloride increases the seizure risk in patients taking:
- Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI antidepressants or anorectics),
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and other tricyclic compounds (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, promethazine, etc.), or
- Other opioids.
Administration of tramadol hydrochloride may enhance the seizure risk in patients taking:
- MAO inhibitors (see also WARNINGS, Use with MAO Inhibitors and Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors ),
- Neuroleptics, or
- Other drugs that reduce the seizure threshold.
Risk of convulsions may also increase in patients with epilepsy, those with a history of seizures, or in patients with a recognized risk for seizure (such as head trauma, metabolic disorders, alcohol and drug withdrawal, CNS infections). In tramadol hydrochloride overdose, naloxone administration may increase the risk of seizure.
- Do not prescribe tramadol hydrochloride for patients who are suicidal or addiction-prone.
- Prescribe tramadol hydrochloride tablets with caution for patients who are taking tranquilizers or antidepressant drug and patients who use alcohol in excess and who suffer from emotional disturbance or depression.
The judicious prescribing of tramadol is essential to the safe use of this drug. With patients who are depressed or suicidal, consideration should be given to the use of non narcotic analgesics
Tramadol-related deaths have occurred in patients with previous histories of emotional disturbances or suicidal ideation or attempts as well as histories of misuse of tranquilizers, alcohol, and other CNS-active drugs (see WARNINGS, Risk of Overdosage)
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with the use of tramadol products, including tramadol hydrochloride, particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs such as SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs, and triptans, with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs), and with drugs which impair metabolism of tramadol (CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors). This may occur within the recommended dose (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics ).
Serotonin syndrome may include mental-status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
Serious and rarely fatal anaphylactoid reactions have been reported in patients receiving therapy with tramadol hydrochloride. When these events do occur it is often following the first dose. Other reported allergic reactions include pruritus, hives, bronchospasm, angioedema, toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Patients with a history of anaphylactoid reactions to codeine and other opioids may be at increased risk and therefore should not receive tramadol hydrochloride (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Administer tramadol hydrochloride cautiously in patients at risk for respiratory depression. In these patients alternative non-opioid analgesics should be considered. When large doses of tramadol hydrochloride are administered with anesthetic medications or alcohol, respiratory depression may result. Respiratory depression should be treated as an overdose. If naloxone is to be administered, use cautiously because it may precipitate seizures (see WARNINGS, Seizure Risk and OVERDOSAGE).
Tramadol hydrochloride should be used with caution and in reduced dosages when administered to patients receiving CNS depressants such as alcohol, opioids, anesthetic agents, narcotics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers or sedative hypnotics.Tramadol hydrochloride increases the risk of CNS and respiratory depression in these patients.
Tramadol may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression.
Tramadol hydrochloride should be used with caution in patients with increased intracranial pressure or head injury. The respiratory depressant effects of opioids include carbon dioxide retention and secondary elevation of cerebrospinal fluid pressure, and may be markedly exaggerated in these patients. Additionally, pupillary changes (miosis) from tramadol may obscure the existence, extent, or course of intracranial pathology. Clinicians should also maintain a high index of suspicion for adverse drug reaction when evaluating altered mental status in these patients if they are receiving tramadol hydrochloride (see WARNINGS, Respiratory Depression ).
Tramadol hydrochloride may impair the mental and or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. The patient using this drug should be cautioned accordingly.
Use tramadol hydrochloride with great caution in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Animal studies have shown increased deaths with combined administration. Concomitant use of tramadol hydrochloride with MAO inhibitors or SSRI's increases the risk of adverse events, including seizure and serotonin syndrome.
Tramadol has mu-opioid agonist activity.Tramadol hydrochloride can be sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and may be subject to criminal diversion. The possibility of illegal or illicit use should be considered when prescribing or dispensing tramadol hydrochloride in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion. Misuse or abuse poses a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE and OVERDOSAGE ).
Concerns about abuse, addiction, and diversion should not prevent the proper management of pain. The development of addiction to opioid analgesics in properly managed patients with pain has been reported to be rare. However, data are not available to establish the true incidence of addiction in chronic pain patients.
Patients taking tramadol should be warned not to exceed the dose recommended by their physician. Tramadol products in excessive doses, either alone or in combination with other CNS depressants, including alcohol, are a cause of drug-related deaths. Patients should be cautioned about the concomitant use of tramadol products and alcohol because of potentially serious CNS additive effects of these agents. Because of its added depressant effects, tramadol should be prescribed with caution for those patients whose medical condition requires the concomitant administration of sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or other CNS depressant drugs. Patients should be advised of the additive depressant effects of these combinations.
Serious potential consequences of overdosage with tramadol hydrochloride tablets are central nervous system depression, respiratory depression and death. Some deaths have occurred as a consequence of the accidental ingestion of excessive quantities of tramadol alone or in combination with other drugs. In treating an overdose, primary attention should be given to maintaining adequate ventilation along with general supportive treatment (see OVERDOSAGE ).
Withdrawal symptoms may occur if tramadol hydrochloride is discontinued abruptly (see also DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE ).Reported symptoms have included anxiety, sweating, insomnia, rigors, pain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, upper respiratory symptoms, piloerection, and rarely hallucinations. Other symptoms that have been reported less frequently with tramadol hydrochloride discontinuation include panic attacks, severe anxiety, and paresthesias. Clinical experience suggests that withdrawal symptoms may be avoided by tapering tramadol hydrochloride at the time of discontinuation.
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FDA Safety Alerts
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FDA Labeling Changes
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Tramadol hydrochloride tablets USP are indicated for the management of moderate to moderately severe pain in adults.
There is currently no drug history available for this drug.
Tramadol hydrochloride is a centrally acting analgesic. The chemical name for tramadol hydrochloride is (±)cis-2-[(dimethylamino)methyl]-1-(3-methoxyphenyl) cyclohexanol hydrochloride. Its structural formula is:
The molecular weight of tramadol hydrochloride is 299.84. Tramadol hydrochloride is a white, bitter, crystalline and odorless powder. It is readily soluble in water and ethanol and has a pKa of 9.41. The n-octanol/water log partition coefficient (logP) is 1.35 at pH 7.Tramadol hydrochloride tablets USP contain 50 mg of tramadol hydrochloride and are white to off white in color. Inactive ingredients in the tablet are corn starch, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, sodium starch glycolate and titanium dioxide.