- Do not prescribe ULTRAM® for patients who are suicidal or addiction-prone.
- Prescribe ULTRAM® Tablets with caution for patients who are taking tranquilizers or antidepressant drug and patients who use alcohol in excess and who suffer from emotional disturbance or depression.
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.
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 (see WARNINGS, Risk of Overdosage).
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with the use of tramadol products, including ULTRAM® , 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).
Serious and rarely fatal anaphylactoid reactions have been reported in patients receiving therapy with ULTRAM®. 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® (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Administer ULTRAM® cautiously in patients at risk for respiratory depression. In these patients alternative non-opioid analgesics should be considered. When large doses of ULTRAM® 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® 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® increases the risk of CNS and respiratory depression in these patients.
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® 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® (see WARNINGS, Respiratory Depression).
ULTRAM® 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 ULTRAM® with great caution in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Animal studies have shown increased deaths with combined administration. Concomitant use of ULTRAM® with MAO inhibitors or SSRI’s increases the risk of adverse events, including seizure and serotonin syndrome.
Tramadol has mu-opioid agonist activity. ULTRAM® can be sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and may be subject to criminal diversion.
The possibility of illegal or illicit use should be considered when prescribing or dispensing ULTRAM® in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion. Misuse or abuse poses a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE and OVERDOSAGE).
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.
Patients taking tramadol should be warned not to exceed the dose recommended by their physician. Tramadol products in excessive doses, either alone or in combination with other CNS depressants, including alcohol, are a cause of drug-related deaths. 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.
Serious potential consequences of overdosage with ULTRAM® (tramadol hydrochloride) tablets are central nervous system depression, respiratory depression and death. Some deaths have occurred as a consequence of the accidental ingestion of excessive quantities of tramadol alone or in combination with other drugs. In treating an overdose, primary attention should be given to maintaining adequate ventilation along with general supportive treatment (see OVERDOSAGE).
Withdrawal symptoms may occur if ULTRAM® is discontinued abruptly (see also DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE). Reported symptoms have included anxiety, sweating, insomnia, rigors, pain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, upper respiratory symptoms, piloerection, and rarely hallucinations. Other symptoms that have been reported less frequently with ULTRAM® discontinuation include panic attacks, severe anxiety, and paresthesias. Clinical experience suggests that withdrawal symptoms may be avoided by tapering ULTRAM® at the time of discontinuation.
The administration of ULTRAM® 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. In patients with creatinine clearances of less than 30 mL/min, dosing reduction is recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Metabolism of tramadol and M1 is reduced in patients with advanced cirrhosis of the liver. In cirrhotic patients, dosing reduction is recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
With the prolonged half-life in these conditions, achievement of steady-state is delayed, so that it may take several days for elevated plasma concentrations to develop.
- Patients should be informed that ULTRAM® 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.
- ULTRAM® may impair mental or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery.
- ULTRAM® should not be taken with alcohol containing beverages.
- ULTRAM® should be used with caution when taking medications such as tranquilizers, hypnotics or other opiate containing analgesics.
- The patient should be instructed to inform the physician if they are pregnant, think they might become pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant (see PRECAUTIONS, Labor and Delivery).
- The patient should understand the single-dose and 24-hour dose limit and the time interval between doses, since exceeding these recommendations can result in respiratory depression, seizures and death.
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