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ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) contains tramadol, a centrally acting synthetic opioid analgesic. Although its mode of action is not completely understood, from animal tests, at least two complementary mechanisms appear applicable: binding of parent and M1 metabolite to μ-opioid receptors and weak inhibition of reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin.
Opioid activity is due to both low affinity binding of the parent compound and higher affinity binding of the O-demethylated metabolite M1 to μ-opioid receptors. In animal models, M1 is up to 6 times more potent than tramadol in producing analgesia and 200 times more potent in μ-opioid binding. Tramadol-induced analgesia is only partially antagonized by the opiate antagonist naloxone in several animal tests. The relative contribution of both tramadol and M1 to human analgesia is dependent upon the plasma concentrations of each compound (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics).
Tramadol has been shown to inhibit reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin in vitro, as have some other opioid analgesics. These mechanisms may contribute independently to the overall analgesic profile of ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) . Analgesia in humans begins approximately within one hour after administration and reaches a peak in approximately two to three hours.
Apart from analgesia, ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) administration may produce a constellation of symptoms (including dizziness, somnolence, nausea, constipation, sweating and pruritus) similar to that of other opioids. In contrast to morphine, tramadol has not been shown to cause histamine release. At therapeutic doses, ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) has no effect on heart rate, left-ventricular function or cardiac index. Orthostatic hypotension has been observed.
The analgesic activity of ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) is due to both parent drug and the M1 metabolite (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacodynamics). Tramadol is administered as a racemate and both the [-] and [+] forms of both tramadol and M1 are detected in the circulation. Linear pharmacokinetics have been observed following multiple doses of 50 and 100 mg to steady-state.
The mean absolute bioavailability of a 100 mg oral dose is approximately 75%. The mean peak plasma concentration of racemic tramadol and M1 occurs at two and three hours, respectively, after administration in healthy adults. In general, both enantiomers of tramadol and M1 follow a parallel time course in the body following single and multiple doses although small differences (~10%) exist in the absolute amount of each enantiomer present.
Steady-state plasma concentrations of both tramadol and M1 are achieved within two days with four times per day dosing. There is no evidence of self-induction (see Figure 1 and Table 1 below).
Figure 1: Mean Tramadol and M1 Plasma Concentration Profiles
after a Single 100 mg Oral Dose and after Twenty-Nine 100 mg Oral Doses of Tramadol
HCl given four times per day
Table 1 Mean (%CV) Pharmacokinetic Parameters for Racemic
Tramadol and M1 Metabolite
|Population/Dosage Regimena||Parent Drug/ Metabolite||Peak Conc.(ng/mL)||Time to Peak (hrs)||Clearance/ Fb (mL/min/Kg)||t½ (hrs)|
|Healthy Adults,100 mg qid, MD p.o.||Tramadol||592 (30)||2.3 (61)||5.90 (25)||6.7 (15)|
|M1||110 (29)||2.4 (46)||c||7.0 (14)|
|Healthy Adults,100 mg SD p.o.||Tramadol||308 (25)||1.6 (63)||8.50 (31)||5.6 (20)|
|M1||55.0 (36)||3.0 (51)||c||6.7 (16)|
|Geriatric, ( > 75 yrs) 50 mg SD p.o.||Tramadol||208 (31)||2.1 (19)||6.89 (25)||7.0 (23)|
|Hepatic Impaired, 50 mg SD p.o.||Tramadol||217 (11)||1.9 (16)||4.23 (56)||13.3 (11)|
|M1||19.4 (12)||9.8 (20)||c||18.5 (15)|
|Renal Impaired, CLcr10-30 mL/min 100 mg SD i.v.||Tramadol||c||c||4.23 (54)||10.6 (31)|
|Renal Impaired, CLcr < 5 mL/min 100 mg SD i.v.||Tramadol||c||c||3.73 (17)||11.0 (29)|
|a SD = Single dose, MD = Multiple dose, p.o.=
Oral administration, i.v.= Intravenous administration, q.i.d. = Four times
b F represents the oral bioavailability of tramadol
c Not applicable
d Not measured
Oral administration of ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) with food does not significantly affect its rate or extent of absorption, therefore, ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) can be administered without regard to food.
The volume of distribution of tramadol was 2.6 and 2.9 liters/kg in male and female subjects, respectively, following a 100 mg intravenous dose. The binding of tramadol to human plasma proteins is approximately 20% and binding also appears to be independent of concentration up to 10 μg/mL. Saturation of plasma protein binding occurs only at concentrations outside the clinically relevant range.
Tramadol is extensively metabolized after oral administration by a number of pathways, including CYP2D6 and CYP3A4, as well as by conjugation of parent and metabolites. Approximately 30% of the dose is excreted in the urine as unchanged drug, whereas 60% of the dose is excreted as metabolites. The remainder is excreted either as unidentified or as unextractable metabolites. The major metabolic pathways appear to be N- and O-demethylation and glucuronidation or sulfation in the liver. One metabolite (O-desmethyltramadol, denoted M1) is pharmacologically active in animal models. Formation of M1 is dependent on CYP2D6 and as such is subject to inhibition, which may affect the therapeutic response (see PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS).
Approximately 7% of the population has reduced activity of the CYP2D6 isoenzyme of cytochrome P-450. These individuals are “poor metabolizers” of debrisoquine, dextromethorphan, tricyclic antidepressants, among other drugs. Based on a population PK analysis of Phase I studies in healthy subjects, concentrations of tramadol were approximately 20% higher in “poor metabolizers” versus “extensive metabolizers”, while M1 concentrations were 40% lower. Concomitant therapy with inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as fluoxetine, paroxetine and quinidine could result in significant drug interactions. In vitro drug interaction studies in human liver microsomes indicate that inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as fluoxetine and its metabolite norfluoxetine, amitriptyline and quinidine inhibit the metabolism of tramadol to various degrees, suggesting that concomitant administration of these compounds could result in increases in tramadol concentrations and decreased concentrations of M1. The full pharmacological impact of these alterations in terms of either efficacy or safety is unknown. Concomitant use of SEROTONIN re-uptake INHIBITORS and MAO INHIBITORS may enhance the risk of adverse events, including seizure (see WARNINGS) and serotonin syndrome.
Tramadol is eliminated primarily through metabolism by the liver and the metabolites are eliminated primarily by the kidneys. The mean terminal plasma elimination half-lives of racemic tramadol and racemic M1 are 6.3 ± 1.4 and 7.4 ± 1.4 hours, respectively. The plasma elimination half-life of racemic tramadol increased from approximately six hours to seven hours upon multiple dosing.
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, adjustment of the dosing regimen is recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). The total amount of tramadol and M1 removed during a 4-hour dialysis period is less than 7% of the administered dose.
Metabolism of tramadol and M1 is reduced in patients with advanced cirrhosis of the liver, resulting in both a larger area under the concentration time curve for tramadol and longer tramadol and M1 elimination half-lives (13 hrs. for tramadol and 19 hrs. for M1). In cirrhotic patients, adjustment of the dosing regimen is recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Healthy elderly subjects aged 65 to 75 years have plasma tramadol concentrations and elimination half-lives comparable to those observed in healthy subjects less than 65 years of age. In subjects over 75 years, maximum serum concentrations are elevated (208 vs. 162 ng/mL) and the elimination half-life is prolonged (7 vs. 6 hours) compared to subjects 65 to 75 years of age. Adjustment of the daily dose is recommended for patients older than 75 years (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
The absolute bioavailability of tramadol was 73% in males and 79% in females. The plasma clearance was 6.4 mL/min/kg in males and 5.7 mL/min/kg in females following a 100 mg IV dose of tramadol. Following a single oral dose, and after adjusting for body weight, females had a 12% higher peak tramadol concentration and a 35% higher area under the concentration-time curve compared to males. The clinical significance of this difference is unknown.
ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) has been given in single oral doses of 50, 75 and 100 mg to patients with pain following surgical procedures and pain following oral surgery (extraction of impacted molars).
In single-dose models of pain following oral surgery, pain relief was demonstrated in some patients at doses of 50 mg and 75 mg. A dose of 100 mg ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) tended to provide analgesia superior to codeine sulfate 60 mg, but it was not as effective as the combination of aspirin 650 mg with codeine phosphate 60 mg.
ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) has been studied in three long-term controlled trials involving a total of 820 patients, with 530 patients receiving ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) . Patients with a variety of chronic painful conditions were studied in double-blind trials of one to three months duration. Average daily doses of approximately 250 mg of ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) in divided doses were generally comparable to five doses of acetaminophen 300 mg with codeine phosphate 30 mg (TYLENOL® with Codeine #3) daily, five doses of aspirin 325 mg with codeine phosphate 30 mg daily, or two to three doses of acetaminophen 500 mg with oxycodone hydrochloride 5 mg (TYLOX®) daily.
In a randomized, blinded clinical study with 129 to 132 patients per group, a 10-day titration to a daily ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) dose of 200 mg (50 mg four times per day), attained in 50 mg increments every 3 days, was found to result in fewer discontinuations due to dizziness or vertigo than titration over only 4 days or no titration. In a second study with 54 to 59 patients per group, patients who had nausea or vomiting when titrated over 4 days were randomized to re-initiate ULTRAM® (tramadol hcl) therapy using slower titration rates.
A 16-day titration schedule, starting with 25 mg qAM and using additional doses in 25 mg increments every third day to 100 mg/day (25 mg four times per day), followed by 50 mg increments in the total daily dose every third day to 200 mg/day (50 mg four times per day), resulted in fewer discontinuations due to nausea or vomiting and fewer discontinuations due to any cause than did a 10-day titration schedule.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/20/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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