Podcast #306: Tramadol Drama - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Nick Hatch, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • Tramadol acts at multiple receptors and is a partial agonist at the mu opioid receptor, but also blocks reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine throughout the body among others.


  • One major side effect to be aware of is that it lowers the seizure threshold.
  • Useful in setting of pain control in patients with contraindications to NSAIDs who are poor opioid candidates.
  • Use with caution as it potential for abuse.



Hennies HH, Friderichs E, Schneider J (July 1988). “Receptor binding, analgesic and antitussive potency of tramadol and other selected opioids”. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 38 (7): 877–80.

“Tramadol Hydrochloride”. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Retrieved Dec 1, 2014.

“Withdrawal syndrome and dependence: tramadol too”. Prescrire Int. 12 (65): 99–100. 2003

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