‘There really is no safe opioid’: Study finds tramadol isn’t a less addictive painkiller

‘There really is no safe opioid’: Study finds tramadol isn’t a less addictive painkiller

Publication date: May 15, 2019

American researchers found that tramadol, an increasingly prescribed post-surgery painkiller that was thought to be less addictive than other opioids, is actually every bit as dangerous.

The team found that at least seven per cent of patients refilled their opioid prescription three to six months after surgery – and the most commonly prescribed opioid was tramadol.

“Tramadol essentially has a similar risk of long-term dependence or long-term opioid use compared to other opIoids. “

The agency noticed a risk of serious breathing problems in some patients who metabolize tramadol quickly, and is now considering tightening regulations for the drug.

“Evidence showed that high doses of tramadol have the same risks of dependency and problematic use as stronger opioids, such as morphine,” Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette said in an email.

“The patient said, ‘I’d rather not go on opioids,’ and the surgeon said, ‘Well, here’s some tramadol,’ apparently not realizing that tramadol is converted to an opioid,” said Juurlink, who is also a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.

That’s why Juurlink has called on Health Canada to act immediately to reclassify tramadol under the Narcotic Control Regulations.

By reclassifying tramadol from a prescription drug to a narcotic, doctors would no longer be able to phone in prescription renewals for it without first seeing the patient to discuss if he or she still needs it.

If and when Health Canada’s proposed regulations that would add tramadol to its Schedule 1 list of drugs with the highest risk of dependence are enacted, they would go into effect a year later.

Concepts Keywords
Addiction Euphoriants
BMJ Morphinans
Canada Analgesics
Clinical Pharmacology Tramadol
Codeine David Juurlink
Euphoria Morphine
Fentanyl Oxycodone
Health Canada RTT
Health Care System Psychoactive drugs
Heels Drugs
Hospital Opioids
Hydrocodone Surgeries
Ibuprofen General surgery
Infection Insomnia
Insomnia Pain
Maryse
Mayo Clinic
Metabolize
Morphine
Narcotic
North America
NSAIDs
Opioid
Opioid Epidemic
Opioids
Overdose
Oxycodone
OxyContin
Pain
Painkiller
Painkillers
Percocet
Prescription Drug
Prescription Medication
Resident General
Rochester
Sleepiness
Surgeon
The BMJ
Toronto
Tramadol
Ultram

Semantics

Type Source Name
drug DRUGBANK Nonoxynol-9
disease MESH insomnia
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
drug DRUGBANK Oxycodone
drug DRUGBANK Codeine
drug DRUGBANK Fentanyl
disease MESH narcotic
gene UNIPROT FBXW7
drug DRUGBANK Morphine
gene UNIPROT SIRPA
gene UNIPROT SLC35G1
drug DRUGBANK Tramadol
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
drug DRUGBANK Ibuprofen
disease MESH infection
disease MESH complications
gene UNIPROT EHD1
disease MESH death
drug DRUGBANK Hydrocodone

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