- Do not use tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets concomitantly with other tramadol products [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6), ( 5.14)] .
- Do not administer tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets at a dose exceeding 300 mg per day.
- Use the lowest effective dosage for the shortest duration consistent with individual patient treatment goals [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.7)] .
- Initiate the dosing regimen for each patient individually, taking into account the patient’s severity of pain, patient response, prior analgesic treatment experience, and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)]
- Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression, especially within the first 24 to 72 hours of initiating therapy and following dosage increases with tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets and adjust the dosage accordingly [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3)] .
- Instruct patients to swallow tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets whole [see Patient Counseling Information ( 17)] , and to take it with liquid. Crushing, chewing, splitting, or dissolving tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets will result in uncontrolled delivery of tramadol and can lead to overdose or death [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)] .
- Tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets may be taken without regard to food, It is recommended that tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets be taken in a consistent manner [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .
Discuss the availability of naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose with the patient and caregiver and assess the potential need for access to naloxone, both when initiating and renewing treatment with tramadol hydrochloride extended release tablets [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3), Patient Counseling Information ( 17)].
Inform patients and caregivers about the various ways to obtain naloxone as permitted by individual state naloxone dispensing and prescribing requirements or guidelines (e.g., by prescription, directly from a pharmacist, or as part of a community-based program).
Consider prescribing naloxone, based on the patient’s risk factors for overdose, such as concomitant use of CNS depressants, a history of opioid use disorder, or prior opioid overdose. The presence of risk factors for overdose should not prevent the proper management of pain in any given patient [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1, 5.3, 5.7)].
Consider prescribing naloxone if the patient has household members (including children) or other close contacts at risk for accidental ingestion or overdose .
The initial dose of tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets is 100 mg once daily.
Patients Currently on Tramadol Immediate-Release (IR) Products
Calculate the 24-hour tramadol IR dose and initiate a total daily dose of tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets rounded down to the next lower 100 mg increment. The dose may subsequently be individualized according to patient need.
Due to limitations in flexibility of dose selection with tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets, some patients maintained on tramadol IR products may not be able to convert to tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets.
Conversion from Other Opioids to Tramadol Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets
Discontinue all other around-the-clock opioid drugs when tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets therapy is initiated. There are no established conversion ratios for conversion from other opioids to tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets defined by clinical trials. Initiate dosing using tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets 100 mg once a day.
Individually titrate tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets by 100 mg every five days to a dose that provides adequate analgesia and minimizes adverse reactions. The maximum daily dose of tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets is 300 mg per day.
Continually reevaluate patients receiving tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets to assess the maintenance of pain control and the relative incidence of adverse reactions, as well as monitoring for the development of addiction, abuse, or misuse [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)] . Frequent communication is important among the prescriber, other members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the caregiver/family during periods of changing analgesic requirements, including initial titration. During chronic therapy, periodically reassess the continued need for the use of opioid analgesics.
Patients who experience breakthrough pain may require a dosage adjustment of tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets, or may need rescue medication with an appropriate dose of an immediate-release analgesic. If the level of pain increases after dosage stabilization, attempt to identify the source of increased pain before increasing the tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets dosage.
If unacceptable opioid-related adverse reactions are observed, consider reducing the dosage. Adjust the dosage to obtain an appropriate balance between management of pain and opioid-related adverse reactions.
Do not abruptly discontinue tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets in patients who may be physically dependent on opioids. Rapid discontinuation of opioid analgesics in patients who are physically dependent on opioids has resulted in 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. Patients may also attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.
When a decision has been made to decrease the dose or discontinue therapy in an opioid-dependent patient taking tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets, there are a variety of factors that should be considered, including the dose of tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. It is important to ensure ongoing care of the patient and to agree on an appropriate tapering schedule and follow-up plan so that patient and provider goals and expectations are clear and realistic. When opioid analgesics are being discontinued due to a suspected substance use disorder, evaluate and treat the patient, or refer for evaluation and treatment of the substance use disorder. Treatment should include evidence-based approaches, such as medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Complex patients with co-morbid pain and substance use disorders may benefit from referral to a specialist.
There are no standard opioid tapering schedules that are suitable for all patients. Good clinical practice dictates a patient-specific plan to taper the dose of the opioid gradually. For patients on tramadol hydrochloride extended-release tablets who are physically opioid-dependent, initiate the taper by a small enough increment (e.g., no greater than 10% to 25% of the total daily dose) to avoid withdrawal symptoms, and proceed with dose-lowering at an interval of every 2 to 4 weeks. Patients who have been taking opioids for briefer periods of time may tolerate a more rapid taper.
It may be necessary to provide the patient with lower dosage strengths to accomplish a successful taper. Reassess the patient frequently to manage pain and withdrawal symptoms, should they emerge. Common withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other signs and symptoms also may develop, including irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate. If withdrawal symptoms arise, it may be necessary to pause the taper for a period of time or raise the dose of the opioid analgesic to the previous dose, and then proceed with a slower taper. In addition, monitor patients for any changes in mood, emergence of suicidal thoughts, or use of other substances.
When managing patients taking opioid analgesics, particularly those who have been treated for a long duration and/or with high doses for chronic pain, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper. A multimodal approach to pain management may optimize the treatment of chronic pain, as well as assist with the successful tapering of the opioid analgesic [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.17), Drug Abuse and Dependence ( 9.3)].
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