Tramadol for the Management of Opioid Withdrawal: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials

The increase in the prescription of opioid medications has resulted in a wildfire of misuse of opioids, both for medical and non-medical reasons, with over 1.7 million people in the United States (US) suffering from distinct disorders owing to opioid use. While various medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone, among others, have been used in treating opioid withdrawal symptoms, concerns of the potential abuse of these drugs, the cost of procurement, legislations, and prescription policies have risen. In recent times, tramadol has been considered a viable replacement for some of these treatment regimes. Tramadol is a synthetic analgesic that acts centrally, possessing opioid-like effects due to the binding of its metabolite with the mu (µ)-opioid receptor, yet with low potential for abuse. Several clinical studies conducted in the past ten years have identified the effects of tramadol in opioid withdrawal cases. The results showed that it exhibits better efficacy and tolerance with fewer side effects in specific clinical scenarios as compared to existing available detox management. We aim to examine the properties of tramadol in opioid withdrawal through this systematic review of clinical studies on humans.

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