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Review of extended-release formulations of Tramadol for the management of chronic non-cancer pain: focus on marketed formulations

Authors Kizilbash A, Ngô-Minh C

Received 5 June 2013

Accepted for publication 7 January 2014

Published 24 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 149—161

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S49502

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Arshi Kizilbash,1 Cường Ngô-Minh2

1Delta Health Services Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; 2Somerset West Community Health Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: Patients with chronic non-malignant pain report impairments of physical, social, and psychological well-being. The goal of pain management should include reducing pain and improving quality of life. Patients with chronic pain require medications that are able to provide adequate pain relief, have minimum dosing intervals to maintain efficacy, and avoid breakthrough pain. Tramadol has proven efficacy and a favourable safety profile. The positive efficacy and safety profile has been demonstrated historically in numerous published clinical studies as well as from post-marketing experience. It is a World Health Organization “Step 2” opioid analgesic that has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, and valuable, where treatment with strong opioids is not required. A number of extended release formulations of Tramadol are available in Canada and the United States. An optimal extended release Tramadol formulation would be expected to provide consistent pain control with once daily dosing, few sleep interruptions, flexible dosing schedules, and no limitation on taking with meals. Appropriate treatment options should be based on the above proposed attributes. A comparative review of available extended release Tramadol formulations shows that these medications are not equivalent in their pharmacokinetic profile and this may have implications for selecting the optimal therapy for patients with pain syndromes where Tramadol is an appropriate analgesic agent. Differences in pharmacokinetics amongst the formulations may also translate into varied clinical responses in patients. Selection of the appropriate formulation by the health care provider should therefore be based on the patient's chronic pain condition, needs, and lifestyle.

Keywords: analgesics, opioids, chronic pain, drug delivery, pharmacokinetics, Tramadol

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