The JAMA Network Journals has recently published a research aiming to see the efficacy of using Tramadol in treating opioid withdrawal symptoms. This has raised the hopes of many proponents for a safer and more effective solution in dealing with opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Tramadol is a drug often used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is said to have a lower addiction rate compared to other psychoactive drugs in the market making it a great alternative to common prescription pain relievers.
JAMA Psychiatry’s clinical trial involved comparing the extended release variety of the drug Tramadol with clonidine and buprenorphine for their efficiency in reducing the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms. It was disclosed that actual patients were used for the experiment, however, under a safe and controlled environment.
Clonidine and buprenorphine are currently the most commonly used drugs by rehabilitation centers to deal with the withdrawal symptoms faced by patients under detoxification.
Opioid abuse and misuse have contributed to the growing number of victims of overdose deaths. People who are willing to get rid of their addiction undergo a widely used process called detoxification, or medically supervised withdrawal. Opioid use disorder is a public health problem that has contributed to unprecedented levels of overdose deaths.
Some report however that many patients fail to finish the program or leave early due to the severity of some withdrawal symptoms that they experience.
The project was led by Kelly E. Dunn, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Alongside his co-authors, they conducted the experiment on 103 opioid disorder patients consisting mostly of men.
The results showed that Tramadol’s extended release variety can indeed lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms better than clonidine. Compared to buprenorphine, however, both drugs showed the same efficiency and effectiveness.
The researchers disclosed the limitation of the research namely that they used primarily male patients and that the tests only lasted for a seven day period.
“These data suggest that tramadol ER is a promising and valuable medication for the management of opioid withdrawal in patients undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder. Future studies should evaluate whether relapse varies following supervised withdrawal with tramadol ER vs. other medications and whether tramadol ER can be used to transition patients to naltrexone treatment,” the article concludes.