Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in America. Among the different prescription drugs being abused, analgesics are the most commonly abused group of drugs. In the last few years, there is increasing evidence of abuse of tramadol, which is an atypical, centrally acting opioid analgesic. The increasing abuse of tramadol has prompted regulatory authorities to strengthen the product labeling of tramadol with respect to its abuse potential. Furthermore, several states have added tramadol to their controlled substances list. In this article, we will review the pharmacology of tramadol and some of the preclinical and clinical studies that support its abuse liability. In addition, we will focus on the risk factors that may predispose individuals to tramadol abuse and the consequences of tramadol abuse such as tramadol poisoning and tramadol dependence. Lastly, potential strategies with an emphasis on the role of the pharmacist and other health care professionals in controlling tramadol abuse will be discussed.
Crowe B, Kneuss T, Finley B, Fink K, D'Souza MS. Drugs of Abuse: A Review of Tramadol Abuse. PAW Review. 2014 Feb 01; 5(1):Article 3 18-22 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol5/iss1/3. Free full text article.