Tramadol compared with opioids for pain: a review of addiction potential

Pohar R, Cunningham J
Record ID 32011001199
Authors' recomendations: Two RCTs were identified in which the abuse potential of tramadol was compared to another opioid analgesic. The results of one RCT were inconclusive given that no instances of abuse were identified. The other RCT suggested the abuse potential of tramadol was lower than hydrocodone-containing analgesics in patients with NCP and similar to that of NSAIDs. However, this study had limitations which could potentially affect the validity of the study’s findings. Further, both studies excluded patients who were at risk of abusing the study medications. While this exclusion criterion was based upon the investigators’ subjective assessment, it appeared that those patients who were at risk of becoming addicted to the study medication were screened out. Thus, based upon the available RCTs, it is not clear whether tramadol has a lower addiction risk than other opioid analgesics. As such, there is a lack of high quality evidence upon which to base formulary decisions about tramadol if such decisions were to be based upon its addiction risk profile relative to other opioid analgesics.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2010
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Pain
  • Tramadol
Organisation Name: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health
Contact Address: 600-865 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1S 5S8 Canada. Tel: +1 613 226 2553; Fax: +1 613 226 5392;
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Copyright: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)
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