Tramadol is eliminated primarily through metabolism by the liver and the metabolites are eliminated primarily by the kidneys. The mean (%CV) apparent total clearance of tramadol after a single 100 mg oral dose is 8.50 (31) mL/min/kg. The mean terminal plasma elimination half-lives of racemic tramadol and racemic M1 are 6.3 ± 1.4 and 7.4 ± 1.4 hours, respectively. The plasma elimination half-life of racemic tramadol increased from approximately six hours to seven hours upon multiple dosing.
Tramadol is extensively metabolized after oral administration by a number of pathways, including CYP2D6 and CYP3A4, as well as by conjugation of parent and metabolites. Approximately 30% of the dose is excreted in the urine as unchanged drug, whereas 60% of the dose is excreted as metabolites. The remainder is excreted either as unidentified or as unextractable metabolites. The major metabolic pathways appear to be N — and O -demethylation and glucuronidation or sulfation in the liver. One metabolite ( O -desmethyltramadol, denoted M1) is pharmacologically active in animal models. Formation of M1 is dependent on CYP2D6 and as such is subject to inhibition, which may affect the therapeutic response (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
Approximately 7% of the population has reduced activity of the CYP2D6 isoenzyme of cytochrome P-450. These individuals are “poor metabolizers” of debrisoquine, dextromethorphan, tricyclic antidepressants, among other drugs. Based on a population PK analysis of Phase I studies in healthy subjects, concentrations of tramadol were approximately 20% higher in “poor metabolizers” versus “extensive metabolizers”, while M1 concentrations were 40% lower. Concomitant therapy with inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as fluoxetine, paroxetine and quinidine could result in significant drug interactions. In vitro drug interaction studies in human liver microsomes indicate that inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as fluoxetine and its metabolite norfluoxetine, amitriptyline and quinidine inhibit the metabolism of tramadol to various degrees, suggesting that concomitant administration of these compounds could result in increases in tramadol concentrations and decreased concentrations of M1. The full pharmacological impact of these alterations in terms of either efficacy or safety is unknown. Concomitant use of SEROTONIN re-uptake INHIBITORS and MAO INHIBITORS may enhance the risk of adverse events, including seizure and serotonin syndrome (see WARNINGS).
Tramadol metabolites are eliminated primarily by the kidneys.
Metabolism of tramadol and M1 is reduced in patients with advanced cirrhosis of the liver, resulting in both a larger area under the concentration time curve for tramadol and longer tramadol and M1 elimination half-lives (13 hrs. for tramadol and 19 hrs. for M1). In cirrhotic patients, adjustment of the dosing regimen is recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
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, adjustment of the dosing regimen is recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). The total amount of tramadol and M1 removed during a 4-hour dialysis period is less than 7% of the administered dose.
Healthy elderly subjects aged 65 to 75 years have plasma tramadol concentrations and elimination half-lives comparable to those observed in healthy subjects less than 65 years of age. In subjects over 75 years, maximum serum concentrations are elevated (208 vs. 162 ng/mL) and the elimination half-life is prolonged (7 vs. 6 hours) compared to subjects 65 to 75 years of age. Adjustment of the daily dose is recommended for patients older than 75 years (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
The absolute bioavailability of tramadol was 73% in males and 79% in females. The plasma clearance was 6.4 mL/min/kg in males and 5.7 mL/min/kg in females following a 100 mg IV dose of tramadol. Following a single oral dose, and after adjusting for body weight, females had a 12% higher peak tramadol concentration and a 35% higher area under the concentration-time curve compared to males. The clinical significance of this difference is unknown.
The formation of the active metabolite, M1, is mediated by CYP2D6, a polymorphic enzyme. Approximately 7% of the population has reduced activity of the CYP2D6 isoenzyme of cytochrome P450 metabolizing enzyme system. These individuals are “poor metabolizers” of debrisoquine, dextromethorphan and tricyclic antidepressants, among other drugs. Based on a population PK analysis of Phase 1 studies with IR tablets in healthy subjects, concentrations of tramadol were approximately 20% higher in “poor metabolizers” versus “extensive metabolizers,” while M1 concentrations were 40% lower.
In vitro studies indicate that tramadol is unlikely to inhibit the CYP3A4-mediated metabolism of other drugs when tramadol is administered concomitantly at therapeutic doses. Tramadol does not appear to induce its own metabolism in humans, since observed maximal plasma concentrations after multiple oral doses are higher than expected based on single-dose data.
In vitro drug interaction studies in human liver microsomes indicate that concomitant administration with inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, and amitriptyline could result in some inhibition of the metabolism of tramadol (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
Tramadol is metabolized to active metabolite M1 by CYP2D6. Coadministration of quinidine, a selective inhibitor of CYP2D6, with tramadol extended-release tablets resulted in a 50–60% increase in tramadol exposure and a 50–60% decrease in M1 exposure. The clinical consequences of these findings are unknown.
To evaluate the effect of tramadol, a CYP2D6 substrate on quinidine, an in vitro drug interaction study in human liver microsomes was conducted. The results from this study indicate that tramadol has no effect on quinidine metabolism (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
Since tramadol is also metabolized by CYP3A4, administration of CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as ketoconazole and erythromycin, or CYP3A4 inducers, such as rifampin and St. John’s Wort, with ULTRAM may affect the metabolism of tramadol leading to altered tramadol exposure (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
Concomitant administration of tramadol IR tablets with cimetidine, a weak CYP3A4 inhibitor, does not result in clinically significant changes in tramadol pharmacokinetics. No alteration of the ULTRAM dosage regimen with cimetidine is recommended.
Carbamazepine, a CYP3A4 inducer, increases tramadol metabolism. Patients taking carbamazepine may have a significantly reduced analgesic effect of tramadol. Concomitant administration of ULTRAM and carbamazepine is not recommended.
ULTRAM has been given in single oral doses of 50, 75 and 100 mg to patients with pain following surgical procedures and pain following oral surgery (extraction of impacted molars).
In single-dose models of pain following oral surgery, pain relief was demonstrated in some patients at doses of 50 mg and 75 mg. A dose of 100 mg ULTRAM tended to provide analgesia superior to codeine sulfate 60 mg, but it was not as effective as the combination of aspirin 650 mg with codeine phosphate 60 mg.
ULTRAM has been studied in three long-term controlled trials involving a total of 820 patients, with 530 patients receiving ULTRAM. Patients with a variety of chronic painful conditions were studied in double-blind trials of one to three months duration. Average daily doses of approximately 250 mg of ULTRAM in divided doses were generally comparable to five doses of acetaminophen 300 mg with codeine phosphate 30 mg (TYLENOL with Codeine #3) daily, five doses of aspirin 325 mg with codeine phosphate 30 mg daily, or two to three doses of acetaminophen 500 mg with oxycodone hydrochloride 5 mg (TYLOX) daily.
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