Some individuals may be ultra-rapid metabolizers because of a specific CYP2D6 genotype (e.g., gene duplications denoted as *1/*1×N or *1/*2×N). The prevalence of this CYP2D6 phenotype varies widely and has been estimated at 1 to 10% for Whites (European, North American), 3 to 4% for Blacks (African Americans), 1 to 2% for East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), and may be greater than 10% in certain racial/ethnic groups (i.e., Oceanian, Northern African, Middle Eastern, Ashkenazi Jews, Puerto Rican). These individuals convert tramadol into its active metabolite, O -desmethyltramadol (M1), more rapidly and completely than other people. This rapid conversion results in higher than expected serum M1 levels. Even at labeled dosage regimens, individuals who are ultra- rapid metabolizers may have life-threatening or fatal respiratory depression or experience signs of overdose (such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, or shallow breathing) (see OVERDOSAGE). Therefore, individuals who are ultra-rapid metabolizers should not use ULTRAM.
Prolonged use of ULTRAM during pregnancy can result in withdrawal in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly. Advise pregnant women using opioids for a prolonged period of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available (see PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients, Pregnancy).
The effects of concomitant use or discontinuation of cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, 3A4 inhibitors, or 2D6 inhibitors on levels of tramadol and M1 from ULTRAM are complex. Use of cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, 3A4 inhibitors, or 2D6 inhibitors with ULTRAM requires careful consideration of the effects on the parent drug, tramadol which is a weak serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and µ-opioid agonist, and the active metabolite, M1, which is more potent than tramadol in µ-opioid receptor binding (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
The concomitant use of ULTRAM with all cytochrome P450 2D6 inhibitors (e.g., amiodarone, quinidine) may result in an increase in tramadol plasma levels and a decrease in the levels of the active metabolite, M1. A decrease in M1 exposure in patients who have developed physical dependence to tramadol, may result in signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal and reduced efficacy. The effect of increased tramadol levels may be an increased risk for serious adverse events including seizures and serotonin syndrome.
Discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 2D6 inhibitor may result in a decrease in tramadol plasma levels and an increase in active metabolite M1 levels, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions related to opioid toxicity and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression.
Follow patients receiving ULTRAM and any CYP2D6 inhibitor for the risk of serious adverse events including seizures and serotonin syndrome, signs and symptoms that may reflect opioid toxicity, and opioid withdrawal when ULTRAM is used in conjunction with inhibitors of CYP2D6 (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
The concomitant use of ULTRAM with cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir) or discontinuation of a cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, may result in an increase in tramadol plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions, increase the risk for serious adverse events including seizures and serotonin syndrome, and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression.
The concomitant use of ULTRAM with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers or discontinuation of a cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitor may result in lower tramadol levels. This may be associated with a decrease in efficacy, and in some patients, may result in signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Follow patients receiving ULTRAM and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer for the risk for serious adverse events including seizures and serotonin syndrome, signs and symptoms that may reflect opioid toxicity and opioid withdrawal when ULTRAM is used in conjunction with inhibitors and inducers of CYP3A4 (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death may result from the concomitant use of ULTRAM with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (e.g., non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol). Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioid analgesics alone. Because of similar pharmacological properties, it is reasonable to expect similar risk with the concomitant use of other CNS depressant drugs with opioid analgesics (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions).
If the decision is made to prescribe a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant concomitantly with an opioid analgesic, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant than indicated in the absence of an opioid, and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid analgesic is initiated in a patient already taking a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid analgesic, and titrate based on clinical response. Follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.
Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when ULTRAM is used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol and illicit drugs). Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant have been determined. Screen patients for risk of substance use disorders, including opioid abuse and misuse, and warn them of the risk for overdose and death associated with the use of additional CNS depressants including alcohol and illicit drugs (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions, Information for Patients/Caregivers).
Cases of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, have been reported with the use of tramadol, particularly during concomitant use with serotonergic drugs. Serotonergic drugs include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), triptans, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter system (e.g., mirtazapine, trazodone, tramadol), and drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAO inhibitors, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue) (see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions). This may occur within the recommended dosage range.
Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination, rigidity), and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). The onset of symptoms generally occurs within several hours to a few days of concomitant use, but may occur later than that. Discontinue ULTRAM if serotonin syndrome is suspected.
Seizures have been reported in patients receiving ULTRAM within the recommended dosage range. Spontaneous post-marketing reports indicate that seizure risk is increased with doses of ULTRAM above the recommended range. Concomitant use of ULTRAM increases the seizure risk in patients taking:
- Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI antidepressants or anorectics),
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and other tricyclic compounds (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, promethazine, etc.), or
- Other opioids,
- MAO inhibitors (see also WARNINGS, Serotonin Syndrome Risk),
- Neuroleptics, or
- Other drugs that reduce the seizure threshold.
Risk of seizure may also increase in patients with epilepsy, those with a history of seizures, or in patients with a recognized risk for seizure (such as head trauma, metabolic disorders, alcohol and drug withdrawal, CNS infections). In ULTRAM overdose, naloxone administration may increase the risk of seizure.
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