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Drug update

Tramadol in pain management

David Lindholm

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Abstract

Tramadol is a novel analgesic with an appealing property of having both opioid and non-opioid modes of action. This property, however, complicates its safe and effective use.

Article Extract

What is tramadol?

Tramadol (Tramal, Zydol) is a centrally acting, synthetic analgesic chemically unrelated to other analgesics. It exists as an equal mixture of two stereoisomers [(+)-tramadol and (-)-tramadol], each with slightly different effects on central nervous system monoamine neurotransmission. Both isomers are metabolised to active metabolites with modest opioid activity. The opioid and non-opioid effects contribute equally to overall analgesia but may vary in individual circumstances.

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