Tramadol hydrochloride tablets are not recommended for obstetrical preoperative medication or for post-delivery analgesia in nursing mothers because its safety in infants and newborns has not been studied.
Tramadol and its metabolite, O-desmethyltramadol (M1), are present in human milk. There is no information on the effects of the drug on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. The M1 metabolite is more potent than tramadol in mu opioid receptor binding [ see Clinical Pharmacology (12)] . Published studies have reported tramadol and M1 in colostrum with administration of tramadol to nursing mothers in the early post-partum period. Women who are ultra-rapid metabolizers of tramadol may have higher than expected serum levels of M1, potentially leading to higher levels of M1 in breast milk that can be dangerous in their breastfed infants. In women with normal tramadol metabolism, the amount of tramadol secreted into human milk is low and dose-dependent. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions, including excess sedation and respiratory depression in a breastfed infant, advise patients that breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with tramadol hydrochloride tablets [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)] .
If infants are exposed to tramadol hydrochloride tablets through breast milk, they should be monitored for excess sedation and respiratory depression. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breastfed infants when maternal administration of an opioid analgesic is stopped, or when breast-feeding is stopped.
Following a single IV 100 mg dose of tramadol, the cumulative excretion in breast milk within 16 hours post dose was 100 mcg of tramadol (0.1% of the maternal dose) and 27 mcg of M1.
Chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility in females and males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible [ see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].
The safety and effectiveness of tramadol hydrochloride tablets in pediatric patients have not been established.
Life-threatening respiratory depression and death have occurred in children who received tramadol [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)] . In some of the reported cases, these events followed tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, and one of the children had evidence of being an ultra-rapid metabolizer of tramadol (i.e., multiple copies of the gene for cytochrome P450 isoenzyme 2D6). Children with sleep apnea may be particularly sensitive to the respiratory depressant effects of tramadol. Because of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression and death:
- Tramadol hydrochloride tablets are contraindicated for all children younger than 12 years of age [ see Contraindications (4)] .
- Tramadol hydrochloride tablets are contraindicated for post-operative management in pediatric patients younger than 18 years of age following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy [ see Contraindications (4)] .
Avoid the use of tramadol hydrochloride tablets in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age who have other risk factors that may increase their sensitivity to the respiratory depressant effects of tramadol unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Risk factors include conditions associated with hypoventilation such as postoperative status, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, severe pulmonary disease, neuromuscular disease, and concomitant use of other medications that cause respiratory depression.
A total of 455 elderly (65 years of age or older) subjects were exposed to tramadol hydrochloride tablets in controlled clinical trials. Of those, 145 subjects were 75 years of age and older.
In studies including geriatric patients, treatment-limiting adverse events were higher in subjects over 75 years of age compared to those under 65 years of age. Specifically, 30% of those over 75 years of age had gastrointestinal treatment-limiting adverse events compared to 17% of those under 65 years of age. Constipation resulted in discontinuation of treatment in 10% of those over 75.
Respiratory depression is the chief risk for elderly patients treated with opioids, and has occurred after large initial doses were administered to patients who were not opioid-tolerant or when opioids were co-administered with other agents that depress respiration. Titrate the dosage of tramadol hydrochloride tablets slowly in geriatric patients starting at the low end of the dosing range and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)] .
Tramadol is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.
Impaired renal function results in a decreased rate and extent of excretion of tramadol and its active metabolite, M1. In patients with creatinine clearances of less than 30 mL/min, dosing reduction is recommended [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.3)] . Metabolism of tramadol and M1 is reduced in patients with severe hepatic impairment based on a study in patients with advanced cirrhosis of the liver. In patients with severe hepatic impairment, dosing reduction is recommended [see Dosage and Administratio n (2.3)].
With the prolonged half-life in these conditions, achievement of steady-state is delayed, so that it may take several days for elevated plasma concentrations to develop.
Tramadol hydrochloride tablets contain tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance.
Tramadol hydrochloride tablets contain tramadol, a substance with a high potential for abuse similar to other opioids. Tramadol hydrochloride tablets can be abused and is subject to misuse, addiction, and criminal diversion [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)] .
All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, because use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use.
Prescription drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of a prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects.
Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and includes: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful, or potentially harmful, consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal.
“Drug-seeking” behavior is very common in persons with substance use disorders. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated “loss” of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers to obtain additional prescriptions) is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction. Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Healthcare providers should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction.
Tramadol hydrochloride tablets, like other opioids, can be diverted for non-medical use into illicit channels of distribution. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests, as required by state and federal law, is strongly advised.
Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.
Risks Specific to Abuse of Tramadol Hydrochloride Tablets
Tramadol hydrochloride tablets are intended for oral use only. Abuse of tramadol hydrochloride tablets pose a risk of overdose and death. The risk is increased with concurrent abuse of tramadol hydrochloride tablets with alcohol and other central nervous system depressants.
Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of drugs to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects.
Physical dependence is a physiological state in which the body adapts to the drug after a period of regular exposure, resulting in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dosage reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity (e.g., naloxone, nalmefene), mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbuphine), or partial agonists (buprenorphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.
Do not abruptly discontinue tramadol hydrochloride tablets in a patient physically dependent on opioids. Rapid tapering of tramadol hydrochloride tablets in a patient physically dependent on opioids may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain and suicide. Rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse.
When discontinuing tramadol hydrochloride tablets, gradually taper the dosage using a patient-specific plan that considers the following: the dose of tramadol hydrochloride tablets the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. To improve the likelihood of a successful taper and minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is important that the opioid tapering schedule is agreed upon by the patient. In patients taking opioids for a long duration at high doses, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.5), Warnings and Precautions (5.17)] .
Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal signs [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
Acute overdosage with tramadol hydrochloride tablets can be manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and, in some cases, pulmonary edema, bradycardia, QT prolongation, hypotension, partial or complete airway obstruction, atypical snoring, seizures, and death. Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen with hypoxia in overdose situations.
Deaths due to overdose have been reported with abuse and misuse of tramadol [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.1); Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2)]. Review of case reports has indicated that the risk of fatal overdose is further increased when tramadol is abused concurrently with alcohol or other CNS depressants, including other opioids.
Treatment of Overdose
In case of overdose, priorities are the re-establishment of a patent and protected airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation, if needed. Employ other supportive measures (including oxygen and vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema as indicated. Cardiac arrest or serious arrhythmias will require advanced life-supporting measures.
Opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, are specific antidotes to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. For clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to opioid overdose, administer an opioid antagonist.
While naloxone will reverse some, but not all, symptoms caused by overdosage with tramadol, the risk of seizures is also increased with naloxone administration. In animals, convulsions following the administration of toxic doses of tramadol hydrochloride tablets could be suppressed with barbiturates or benzodiazepines but were increased with naloxone. Naloxone administration did not change the lethality of an overdose in mice. Hemodialysis is not expected to be helpful in an overdose because it removes less than 7% of the administered dose in a 4-hour dialysis period.
Because the duration of opioid reversal is expected to be less than the duration of action of tramadol in tramadol hydrochloride tablets, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably re-established. If the response to an opioid antagonist is suboptimal or only brief in nature, administer additional antagonist as directed by the product’s prescribing information.
In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of the recommended usual dosage of the antagonist will precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms experienced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If a decision is made to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, administration of the antagonist should be begun with care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.
Tramadol hydrochloride tablets, USP, for oral use, are an opioid agonist. The chemical name for tramadolhydrochloride is (±)cis-2-[(dimethylamino)methyl]-1-(3-methoxyphenyl) cyclohexanol hydrochloride.
The structural formula is:
The molecular weight of tramadol hydrochloride is 299.8. Tramadol hydrochloride, USP is a white, bitter, crystalline and odorless powder. It is readily soluble in water and ethanol and has a pKa of 9.41. The n-octanol/water log partition coefficient (logP) is 1.35 at pH 7. Tramadol hydrochloride tablets, USP contain 50 mg of tramadol hydrochloride, USP, and are white in color. Inactive ingredients in the tablet are pregelatinized starch, lactose anhydrous, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate, titanium dioxide, hypromellose and polysorbate 80.
Tramadol hydrochloride tablets contain tramadol, an opioid agonist and inhibitor of norepinephrine and serotonin re- uptake. Although the mode of action is not completely understood, the analgesic effect of tramadol is believed to be due to both binding to μ-opioid receptors and weak inhibition of re-uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin.
Opioid activity is due to both low affinity binding of the parent compound and higher affinity binding of the O -demethylated metabolite M1 to μ-opioid receptors. In animal models, M1 is up to 6 times more potent than tramadol in producing analgesia and 200 times more potent in μ-opioid binding. Tramadol-induced analgesia is only partially antagonized by the opioid antagonist naloxone in several animal tests. The relative contribution of both tramadol and M1 to human analgesia is dependent upon the plasma concentrations of each compound [ see Clinical Pharmacology (12.2)] .
Analgesia in humans begins approximately within one hour after administration and reaches a peak in approximately two to three hours.
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