Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse
Tramadol may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression.
ULTRAM® ER is a mu-agonist opioid. Tramadol, like other opioids used in analgesia, can be abused and is subject to criminal diversion.
Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive use, use for non-medical purposes, and continued use despite harm or risk of harm. Drug addiction is a treatable disease, utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, but relapse is common.
“Drug-seeking” behavior is very common in addicts and drug abusers. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated “loss” of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction.
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Physicians should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction and is characterized by misuse for non-medical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances. ULTRAM ER, like other opioids, may be diverted for non-medical use. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests is strongly advised.
Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.
ULTRAM ER is intended for oral use only. The crushed tablet poses a hazard of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of alcohol and other substances. With parenteral abuse, the tablet excipients can be expected to result in local tissue necrosis, infection, pulmonary granulomas, and increased risk of endocarditis and valvular heart injury. Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
Risk of Overdosage
Serious potential consequences of overdosage with ULTRAM ER are central nervous system depression, respiratory depression and death. In treating an overdose, primary attention should be given to maintaining adequate ventilation along with general supportive treatment (see OVERDOSAGE).
Acute Abdominal Condition
The administration of ULTRAM ER may complicate the clinical assessment of patients with acute abdominal conditions.
Impaired renal function results in a decreased rate and extent of excretion of tramadol and its active metabolite, M1. ULTRAM ER has not been studied in patients with severe renal impairment (CLcr < 30 mL/min). The limited availability of dose strengths and once daily dosing of ULTRAM ER do not permit the dosing flexibility required for safe use in patients with severe renal impairment. Therefore, ULTRAM ER should not be used in patients with severe renal impairment (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Metabolism of tramadol and M1 is reduced in patients with advanced cirrhosis of the liver. The pharmacokinetics of ULTRAM ER has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment. The limited availability of dose strengths and once daily dosing of ULTRAM ER do not permit the dosing flexibility required for safe use in patients with severe hepatic impairment. Therefore, ULTRAM ER should not be used in patients with severe hepatic impairment (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
- Patients should be informed that ULTRAM ER is for oral use only and should be swallowed whole. The tablets should not be chewed, crushed, or split.
- Patients should be informed that ULTRAM ER may cause seizures and/or serotonin syndrome with concomitant use of serotonergic agents (including SSRIs, SNRIs, and triptans) or drugs that significantly reduce the metabolic clearance of tramadol.
- Patients should be informed that ULTRAM ER may impair mental or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery.
- Patients should be informed that ULTRAM ER should not be taken with alcohol containing beverages.
- Patients should be informed that ULTRAM ER should be used with caution when taking medications such as tranquilizers, hypnotics or other opiate containing analgesics.
- Female patients should be instructed to inform the prescriber if they are pregnant, think they might become pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant (see PRECAUTIONS, Labor and Delivery).
- Patients should be educated regarding the single-dose and 24-hour dosing regimen, as exceeding these recommendations can result in respiratory depression, seizures or death.
Use in Drug and Alcohol Addiction
ULTRAM ER is an opioid with no approved use in the management of addictive disorders. Its proper usage in individuals with drug or alcohol dependence, either active or in remission, is for the management of pain requiring opioid analgesia.
CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors: Concomitant administration of CYP2D6 and/or CYP3A4 inhibitors (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics), such as quinidine, fluoxetine, paroxetine and amitriptyline (CYP2D6 inhibitors), and ketoconazole and erythromycin (CYP3A4 inhibitors), may reduce metabolic clearance of tramadol increasing the risk for serious adverse events including seizures and serotonin syndrome.
Serotonergic Drugs: There have been postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome with use of tramadol and SSRIs/SNRIs or MAOIs and α2-adrenergic blockers. Caution is advised when ULTRAM ER is coadministered with other drugs that may affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter systems, such as SSRIs, MAOIs, triptans, linezolid (an antibiotic which is a reversible non-selective MAOI), lithium, or St. John’s Wort. If concomitant treatment of ULTRAM ER with a drug affecting the serotonergic neurotransmitter system is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see WARNINGS, Serotonin Syndrome Risk).
Triptans: Based on the mechanism of action of tramadol and the potential for serotonin syndrome, caution is advised when ULTRAM ER is coadministered with a triptan. If concomitant treatment of ULTRAM ER with a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see WARNINGS, Serotonin Syndrome Risk).
Use With Carbamazepine
Patients taking carbamazepine , a CYP3A4 inducer, may have a significantly reduced analgesic effect of tramadol. Because carbamazepine increases tramadol metabolism and because of the seizure risk associated with tramadol, concomitant administration of ULTRAM ER and carbamazepine is not recommended.
Use With Quinidine
Coadministration of quinidine with ULTRAM ER resulted in a 50-60% increase in tramadol exposure and a 50-60% decrease in M1 exposure (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Drug Interactions). The clinical consequences of these findings are unknown.
Use With Digoxin and Warfarin
Post-marketing surveillance of tramadol has revealed rare reports of digoxin toxicity and alteration of warfarin effect, including elevation of prothrombin times.
Potential for Other Drugs to Affect Tramadol
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.
Administration of CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as ketoconazole and erythromycin, or inducers, such as rifampin and St. John’s Wort, with ULTRAM ER may affect the metabolism of tramadol leading to altered tramadol exposure.
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