Seizures have been reported in patients receiving tramadol within the recommended dosage range. Spontaneous post-marketing reports indicate that seizure risk is increased with doses of tramadol above the recommended range. Concomitant use of tramadol increases the seizure risk in patients taking:
•Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI antidepressants or anorectics),
•Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and other tricyclic compounds (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, promethazine, etc.), or
Administration of tramadol may enhance the seizure risk in patients taking:
•MAO inhibitors (see also WARNINGS, Use with MAO Inhibitors and Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors),
•Other drugs that reduce the seizure threshold.
Risk of convulsions may also increase in patients with epilepsy, those with a history of seizures, or in patients with a recognized risk for seizure (such as head trauma, metabolic disorders, alcohol and drug withdrawal, CNS infections). In tramadol overdose, naloxone administration may increase the risk of seizure.
•Do not prescribe ULTRACET® for patients who are suicidal or addiction-prone.
•Prescribe ULTRACET® with caution for patients taking tranquilizers or antidepressant drugs and patients who use alcohol in excess and who suffer from emotional disturbance or depression.
The judicious prescribing of tramadol is essential to the safe use of this drug. With patients who are depressed or suicidal, consideration should be given to the use of non-narcotic analgesics.
Tramadol-related deaths have occurred in patients with previous histories of emotional disturbances or suicidal ideation or attempts as well as histories of misuse of tranquilizers, alcohol, and other CNS-active drugs (see WARNINGS, Risk of Overdosage).
Serotonin Syndrome Risk
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with the use of tramadol products, including ULTRACET®, particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs such as SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs, and triptans, with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs), and with drugs which impair metabolism of tramadol (CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors). This may occur within the recommended dose (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics).
Serotonin syndrome may include mental-status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
Serious and rarely fatal anaphylactoid reactions have been reported in patients receiving therapy with tramadol. When these events do occur it is often following the first dose. Other reported allergic reactions include pruritus, hives, bronchospasm, angioedema, toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Patients with a history of anaphylactoid reactions to codeine and other opioids may be at increased risk and therefore should not receive ULTRACET® (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Administer ULTRACET® cautiously in patients at risk for respiratory depression. In these patients, alternative non-opioid analgesics should be considered. When large doses of tramadol are administered with anesthetic medications or alcohol, respiratory depression may result. Respiratory depression should be treated as an overdose. If naloxone is to be administered, use cautiously because it may precipitate seizures (see WARNINGS, Seizure Risk and OVERDOSAGE).
Interaction With Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
ULTRACET® should be used with caution and in reduced dosages when administered to patients receiving CNS depressants such as alcohol, opioids, anesthetic agents, narcotics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers or sedative hypnotics. Tramadol increases the risk of CNS and respiratory depression in these patients.
Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse
Tramadol may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression.
Increased Intracranial Pressure or Head Trauma
ULTRACET® should be used with caution in patients with increased intracranial pressure or head injury. The respiratory depressant effects of opioids include carbon dioxide retention and secondary elevation of cerebrospinal fluid pressure and may be markedly exaggerated in these patients. Additionally, pupillary changes (miosis) from tramadol may obscure the existence, extent, or course of intracranial pathology. Clinicians should also maintain a high index of suspicion for adverse drug reaction when evaluating altered mental status in these patients if they are receiving ULTRACET (see WARNINGS, Respiratory Depression).
Use in Ambulatory Patients
Tramadol may impair the mental and or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. The patient using this drug should be cautioned accordingly.
Use With MAO Inhibitors and Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors
Use ULTRACET® with great caution in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Animal studies have shown increased deaths with combined administration of MAO inhibitors and tramadol. Concomitant use of tramadol with MAO inhibitors or SSRI's increases the risk of adverse events, including seizure and serotonin syndrome.
Use With Alcohol
ULTRACET® should not be used concomitantly with alcohol consumption. The use of ULTRACET® in patients with liver disease is not recommended.
Use With Other Acetaminophen-containing Products
Due to the potential for acetaminophen hepatotoxicity at doses higher than the recommended dose, ULTRACET® should not be used concomitantly with other acetaminophen-containing products.
Misuse, Abuse and Diversion
Tramadol has mu-opioid agonist activity. ULTRACET, a tramadol-containing product, can be sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and may be subject to criminal diversion. The possibility of illegal or illicit use should be considered when prescribing or dispensing ULTRACET in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion.Misuse or abuse poses a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death (see Drug Abuse And Dependence and OVERDOSAGE).
Concerns about abuse, addiction, and diversion should not prevent the proper management of pain. The development of addiction to opioid analgesics in properly managed patients with pain has been reported to be rare. However, data are not available to establish the true incidence of addiction in chronic pain patients.
Risk of Overdosage
Patients taking tramadol should be warned not to exceed the dose recommended by their physician. Tramadol products in excessive doses, either alone or in combination with other CNS depressants, including alcohol, are a cause of drug-related deaths. Patients should be cautioned about the concomitant use of tramadol products and alcohol because of potentially serious CNS additive effects of these agents. Because of its added depressant effects, tramadol should be prescribed with caution for those patients whose medical condition requires the concomitant administration of sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants, or other CNS depressant drugs. Patients should be advised of the additive depressant effects of these combinations.
Serious potential consequences of overdosage with tramadol are central nervous system depression, respiratory depression and death. Some deaths have occurred as a consequence of the accidental ingestion of excessive quantities of tramadol alone or in combination with other drugs. In treating an overdose, primary attention should be given to maintaining adequate ventilation along with general supportive treatment (see OVERDOSAGE).
Serious potential consequences of overdosage with acetaminophen are hepatic (centrilobular) necrosis, leading to hepatic failure and death. Emergency help should be sought immediately and treatment initiated immediately if overdose is suspected, even if symptoms are not apparent.