The tramadol option.Eur J Pain. 2000; 4 Suppl A:15-21.EJ
Tramadol is an option for the treatment of rheumatological pain. Its mode of action and safety profile distinguishes it from other opioids. Tramadol differs from other opioids by combining a weak opioid and a monoaminergic mode of action. It is effective in different types of moderate-to-severe pain, including neuropathic pain. Moreover, as the mode of action of tramadol does not overlap with that of NSAIDs, it is a useful agent to be combined with these drugs. Tramadol induces fewer opioid adverse reactions for a given level of analgesia compared with traditional opioids. Common adverse reactions of tramadol such as nausea and dizziness, which usually occur only at the beginning of therapy and attenuate over time, can be further minimized by up-titrating the drug over several days. Dose adjustment is only necessary in patients over 75 years of age, or in those with either hepatic or renal insufficiency. Tramadol should be avoided or used with caution in epileptics, or in individuals who are receiving seizure-threshold lowering drugs. Finally, tramadol has a low risk of abuse because it has only a weak opioid effect and its monoaminergic action could inhibit the development of dependence. The low abuse potential of tramadol has been demonstrated by postmarketing surveillance data.