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Analgesics in ophthalmic practice: a review of the oral non-narcotic agent tramadol.

Author(s): Gaynes BI, Barkin RL

Affiliation(s): Rush University, College of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA. bgaynes@rush.edu

Publication date & source: 1999-07, Optom Vis Sci., 76(7):455-61.

Publication type: Review

This report reviews the causes of ocular pain and discusses the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, adverse effects, and dosage of tramadol, a novel non-narcotic oral analgesic. Tramadol is a synthetic analog of codeine with a dual mechanism of action that involves agonist activity at the mu opioid receptor, as well as inhibition of monoaminergic (norepinephrine and serotonin) re-uptake. Unlike opiate analgesics, tramadol has very low propensity toward physical dependence. Common dose-related adverse effects of tramadol include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, and/or drowsiness. Clinically, tramadol has been shown to be equivalent to acetaminophen (325 mg)-codeine (30 mg) combinations for the treatment of moderate or severe nonocular pain. Tramadol appears to be an effective analgesic agent for pain control due to postoperative surgical trauma, as well as in various chronic malignant and nonmalignant disease states. Tramadol has shown variable effectiveness in the control of pain related to dental procedures. The usefulness of tramadol in pain states from ophthalmic origin has yet to be clinically established.

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