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What You Should Know About The Tramadol Drug

Updated on June 28, 2009

Tramadol is the common name for tramadol hydrochloride and is an opioid derivative, such as morphine and methadone. In contrast to these two molecules, the tramadol drug in many countries may be sold without the benefit of a doctor's prescription specifically for narcotic drugs (which is considerably more difficult to obtain), but with a conventional prescription for a single order. It is an analgesic which operates centrally, and it primarily utilized to treat pain in a patient which is in the moderate to severe range.

The tramadol drug is a synthetic opioid and seems to manifest actions at the u-opioid receptor as well as the serotonergic noradrenergic systems. The tramadol drug was first patented and manufactured by the German pharmaceutical corporation Grunenthal GmbH, located in Stolberg-am-Rhein near Aachen, in the 1970s and was marketed around the world under the trade name Tramal. Grunenthal has also licensed the product to several other pharmaceutical companies around the world with different names such as Ultram, Medtrap, and Ryzolt.

In the 1950s Grunenthal GmbH created and marketed the infamous drug Thalidomide, also known as Softenon and Contergan. This pharmaceutical was responsible for a wide range of teratogenic deformities in infants born after their mothers ingested the drug prior to the third trimester of their pregnancies.

The tramadol drug has a fairly close chemical relative which is also in common clinical use and is known as tapentadol, which was also developed by the same pharmaceutical company, Grunenthal GmbH.

The tramadol drug is a pharmaceutical which been used for acute and chronic pain as well as pain induced by surgical and diagnostic procedures which are particularly painful.

The tramadol drug is utilized to treat pain which ranges from moderate to severe, and many forms of neuralgia, including trigeminal neuralgia. It has been suggested that the tramadol drug could be effective in alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety due to its interaction with noradrenaline and serotonin, the involvement of which appear to play a part in his ability in relieving the perception of extreme pain by the individual patient. However, health professionals have not yet endorsed its use on a large scale for such problems.

Some of the therapeutical applications for the tramadol drug currently under investigation include:

diabetic neuropathy
fibromyalgia
migraine headache
obsessive-compulsive disorder
opiate withdrawal management
postherpetic neuralgia
premature ejaculation
restless legs syndrome

The tramadol drug is usually marketed as a hydrochloric salt (tramadol hydrochloride) and is available both as an intravenous and / or intramuscular injection and oral preparations. It is also available in conjunction with paracetamol (acetaminophen). In particular, the tramadol drug is found in capsules; tablets; extended release tablets; suppositories; efffervescent pills and powders; ampoules of sterile solutions for subcutaneous injection both intramuscular and intravenous; powder specifically compounded for mixing with other powders; liquids for oral and sublingual administration. The tramadol drug is also available in capsules and tablets containing paracetamol (acetaminophen) and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).

The tramadol drug has a slightly bitter taste which is typical of opioids but much less pronounced than that found in morphine and codeine. The oral and sublingual tablets as well as liquid preparations are available with an artificial flavor added. Its relative effectiveness is generally similar to that of codeine and like codeine, this drug is metabolized in the liver.

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