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Information about Tramadol

Tramadol is an opioid analgesic used for the therapy of mild-to-moderate pain. Tramadol overdose can cause acute liver failure. Pharmacologic use of tramadol has not been associated with cases of clinically apparent drug induced liver disease.

Mechanism of action of Tramadol

Tramadol is a synthetic codeine analog that acts as a weak opioid agonist in addition to mildly inhibiting serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake. Tramadol is effective against mild-to-moderate pain, but is not as effective as standard opioids and not recommended for severe pain.

FDA approval information for Tramadol

Tramadol was approved for use in the United States in 1995 and is currently widely used, with more than 18 million prescriptions written yearly. Tramadol is available in 50 mg tablets in multiple generic forms and under the brand name Ultram. It is also available as tablets of 37.5 mg in combination with acetaminophen (325 mg) both generically and under the brand name Ultracet.

Dosage and administration for Tramadol

The usual dose in adults is initially 25 mg daily, with titration based on effect and tolerance to 50 to 100 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain, but not to exceed 400 mg daily. Extended release formulations in capsules of 100, 200 and 300 mg are also available (Conzip) and are given once daily. Physical dependence is uncommon, and the potential for abuse is less than with more typical opioid analgesics for which reason tramadol is not classified as a scheduled drug.

Side effects of Tramadol

Common side effects are nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, sedation and headache. Tramadol may increase the risk of seizures.

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