Ultram ER Indications and Usage
ULTRAM ER is indicated for the management of moderate to moderately severe chronic pain in adults who require around-the-clock treatment of their pain for an extended period of time.
ULTRAM ER should not be administered to patients who have previously demonstrated hypersensitivity to tramadol, any other component of this product or opioids. ULTRAM ER is contraindicated in any situation where opioids are contraindicated, including acute intoxication with any of the following: alcohol, hypnotics, narcotics, centrally acting analgesics, opioids or psychotropic drugs. ULTRAM ER may worsen central nervous system and respiratory depression in these patients.
Seizures have been reported in patients receiving tramadol within the recommended dosage range. Spontaneous post-marketing reports indicate that seizure risk is increased with doses of tramadol above the recommended range. Concomitant use of tramadol 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.
Administration of tramadol may enhance the seizure risk in patients taking:
- MAO inhibitors (see also WARNINGS, Use with MAO Inhibitors and Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors),
- Neuroleptics, or
- Other drugs that reduce the seizure threshold.
Risk of convulsions 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 tramadol overdose, naloxone administration may increase the risk of seizure.
- Do not prescribe ULTRAM ER for patients who are suicidal or addiction-prone.
- Prescribe ULTRAM ER with caution for patients taking tranquilizers or antidepressant drugs and patients who use alcohol in excess.
- Tell your patients not to exceed the recommended dose and to limit their intake of alcohol.
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with the use of tramadol products, including ULTRAM ER, particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs such as SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs and triptans, with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs), and with drugs which impair metabolism of tramadol (CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors). This may occur within the recommended dose. (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics).
Serotonin syndrome 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) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
Tramadol products in excessive doses, either alone or in combination with other CNS depressants, including alcohol, are a major cause of drug-related deaths. Fatalities within the first hour of overdosage are not uncommon. Tramadol should not be taken in doses higher than those recommended by the physician. The judicious prescribing of tramadol is essential to the safe use of this drug. With patients who are depressed or suicidal, consideration should be given to the use of non-narcotic analgesics. Patients should be cautioned about the concomitant use of tramadol products and alcohol because of potentially serious CNS-additive effects of these agents. Because of its added depressant effects, tramadol should be prescribed with caution for those patients whose medical condition requires the concomitant administration of sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or other CNS-depressant drugs. Patients should be advised of the additive depressant effects of these combinations.
Many of the tramadol-related deaths have occurred in patients with previous histories of emotional disturbances or suicidal ideation or attempts as well as histories of misuse of tranquilizers, alcohol, and other CNS-active drugs. Some deaths have occurred as a consequence of the accidental ingestion of excessive quantities of tramadol alone or in combination with other drugs. Patients taking tramadol should be warned not to exceed the dose recommended by their physician.
Serious and rarely fatal anaphylactoid reactions have been reported in patients receiving therapy with tramadol. When these events do occur it is often following the first dose. Other reported allergic reactions include pruritus, hives, bronchospasm, angioedema, toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Patients with a history of anaphylactoid reactions to codeine and other opioids may be at increased risk and therefore should not receive ULTRAM ER (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Administer ULTRAM ER cautiously in patients at risk for respiratory depression. In these patients alternative non-opioid analgesics should be considered. When large doses of tramadol are administered with anesthetic medications or alcohol, respiratory depression may result. Respiratory depression should be treated as an overdose. If naloxone is to be administered, use cautiously because it may precipitate seizures (see WARNINGS, Seizure Risk and OVERDOSAGE).
ULTRAM ER should be used with caution and in reduced dosages when administered to patients receiving CNS depressants such as alcohol, opioids, anesthetic agents, narcotics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers or sedative hypnotics. ULTRAM ER increases the risk of CNS and respiratory depression in these patients.
Increased Intracranial Pressure or Head Trauma
ULTRAM ER should be used with caution in patients with increased intracranial pressure or head injury. The respiratory depressant effects of opioids include carbon dioxide retention and secondary elevation of cerebrospinal fluid pressure, and may be markedly exaggerated in these patients. Additionally, pupillary changes (miosis) from tramadol may obscure the existence, extent, or course of intracranial pathology. Clinicians should also maintain a high index of suspicion for adverse drug reaction when evaluating altered mental status in these patients if they are receiving ULTRAM ER. (see WARNINGS, Respiratory Depression.)
Use in Ambulatory Patients
ULTRAM ER may impair the mental and or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. The patient using this drug should be cautioned accordingly.
Use With MAO Inhibitors and Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors
Use ULTRAM ER with great caution in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Animal studies have shown increased deaths with combined administration. Concomitant use of ULTRAM ER with MAO inhibitors or SSRIs increases the risk of adverse events, including seizure and serotonin syndrome.
Withdrawal symptoms may occur if ULTRAM ER is discontinued abruptly. These symptoms may include: anxiety, sweating, insomnia, rigors, pain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, upper respiratory symptoms, piloerection, and rarely hallucinations. Clinical experience suggests that withdrawal symptoms may be reduced by tapering ULTRAM ER.
Misuse, Abuse and Diversion of Opioids
Tramadol is an opioid agonist of the morphine-type. Such drugs are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion.
Tramadol can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing ULTRAM ER in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion.
ULTRAM ER could be abused by crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting the dissolved product. These practices will result in the uncontrolled delivery of the opioid and pose a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death (see WARNINGS and DRUG ABUSE AND ADDICTION).
Concerns about abuse, addiction, and diversion should not prevent the proper management of pain. The development of addiction to opioid analgesics in properly managed patients with pain has been reported to be rare. However, data are not available to establish the true incidence of addiction in chronic pain patients.
Healthcare professionals should contact their State Professional Licensing Board or State Controlled Substances Authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.
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