Meds and you

27 September 2013

Tramadol

Tramadol is an analgesic. An analgesic is a substance which reduces or eliminates pain.

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Tramadol is the active ingredient of Dolatram Inj (Nappi Code: 704045-001, 704044-001), Dolatram Capsules (Nappi Code: 705379-001), Domadol Capsules (Nappi Code: 705175-001/002), Tramahexal Capsules (Nappi Code: 864900-015/007), Tramahexal Inj (Nappi Code: 704048-001), Tramahexal SR Tablets (Nappi Code: 705810-001, 705811-001, 705812-001), Tramal Inj (Nappi Code: 797162-003), Tramal Capsules (Nappi Code: 797146-008/016), Tramal SR tablets (Nappi Code: 891980-007, 891983-007), Tramal Supps (Nappi Code: 797154-019), Tramal Drops (Nappi Code: 700458-003), Tramazac Inj (Nappi Code: 707365-001), Tramazac Capsules (Nappi Code: 706475-001/002) and Tramazac Flashtabs (Nappi Code: 706557-001).

Tramadol is also one of the active ingredients found in Tramacet tablets (Nappi Code: 700243-002).

General information
Tramadol is an analgesic. An analgesic is a substance which reduces or eliminates pain.

In South Africa tramadol is registered for the short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain. It may be effective in the relief of pain that is not responding to treatment with aspirin or paracetamol. If used in combination with these it provides an additive analgesic effect.

It should be noted that pain is a symptom and not a disease, and although tramadol may be useful for short-term pain management, long-term relief often requires treatment of the underlying cause. It does not cure the underlying condition responsible for pain or fever, but simply keeps the symptoms under control.

Because tramadol may cause dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation, driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

How does tramadol work?
Tramadol mimics the effect of natural occurring pain-relieving chemical in the body. These chemicals block the transmission of pain signals between nerves and the brain.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 5
Available as: tramadol is available as capsules, tablets, drops, injection and suppositories.
What does it do? Tramadol reduces pain.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: medium
Is Tramadol available as a generic? yes
Is Tramadol available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 1 hour
Duration of action: up to 6 hours
Stopping this medicine: this medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed.
Prolonged use: tramadol is generally only prescribed for short-term use; prolonged use may increase likelihood of tolerance and may cause dependence.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

 

  • you have a head injury
    •  
    • you have a condition that makes breathing difficult
      •  
      • you have a liver or kidney disease
        •  
        • you have epilepsy
          •  
          • you have a history of alcoholism or substance abuse
            •  
            • you are being treated, or have been treated within the last 14 days with a monoamine-oxidase inhibitor antidepressant

            Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
            Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
            Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
            Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 14.
            The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects may be more frequent.
            Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
            Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

            Possible side effects

             

            Side Effect
            Frequency
            Consult your doctor
             
            Common
            Rare
            Only if severe
            In all cases
            drowsiness
            X
             
            X
             
            dizziness
            X
             
            X
             
            abdominal pain
             
            X
            X
             
            nausea and vomiting
             
            X
            X
             
            diarrhoea/constipation
             
            X
            X
             
            dry mouth
             
            X
            X
             
            sweating
             
            X
            X
             
            urinary retention/dry mouth
             
            X
            X
             
            low blood pressure
             
            X
            X
             
            palpitations/change in heart rate
             
            X
             
            X
            blurred vision
             
            X
             
            X
            memory loss
             
            X
             
            X
            seizures
             
            X
             
            X
            skin rash
             
            X
             
            X
            difficulty breathing
             
            X
             
            X

            Interactions

             

            atropine and related drugs increased risk of constipation, urinary retention, etc
            drugs for diarrhoea increased risk constipation
            blood pressure medication increased risk of low blood pressure
            carbamazepine reduced effect of tramadol
            drugs that may cause sedation i.e. alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opioids and antihistamines increased risk of sedation
            monoamine oxidase inhibitors increase risk of low blood pressure
            bupropion, Mefloquine, Fluoxetine and other SSRI’s, Amitriptyline and other tricyclic antidepressants increase risk of seizures
            warfarin increased effect of warfarin

            Disease interactions
            Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a head injury, asthma, a liver or kidney disease, epilepsy or if you have a history of alcoholism or substance abuse.

            Overdose action
            A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

            Recommended dosage
            Adults: oral, up to 400 mg daily in 4-6 divided doses

             

            This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 
 

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