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
- Other opioids.
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),
- Neuroleptics, or
- 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.
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.
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.
Withdrawal symptoms may occur if ULTRACET® is discontinued abruptly (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE). These symptoms may include: anxiety, sweating, insomnia, rigors, pain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, upper respiratory symptoms, piloerection, and rarely hallucinations. Other symptoms that have been seen less frequently with ULTRACET® discontinuation include: panic attacks, severe anxiety, and paresthesias. Clinical experience suggests that withdrawal symptoms may be avoided by tapering ULTRACET® at the time of discontinuation.
Physical Dependence and Abuse
Tramadol may induce psychic and physical dependence of the morphine-type (µ-opioid) (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE). Tramadol should not be used in opioid-dependent patients. Tramadol has been shown to reinitiate physical dependence in some patients that have been previously dependent on other opioids. Dependence and abuse, including drug-seeking behavior and taking illicit actions to obtain the drug are not limited to those patients with prior history of opioid dependence.
Risk of Overdosage
Serious potential consequences of overdosage with tramadol are central nervous system depression, respiratory depression and death. 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.
The recommended dose of ULTRACET® should not be exceeded.
Do not co-administer ULTRACET® with other tramadol or acetaminophen-containing products (see WARNINGS, Use With Other Acetaminophen-containing Products and Risk of Overdosage).
The safety and effectiveness of ULTRACET® has not been studied in the pediatric population.
In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function; of concomitant disease and multiple drug therapy.
Acute Abdominal Conditions
The administration of ULTRACET® may complicate the clinical assessment of patients with acute abdominal conditions .
Use in Renal Disease
ULTRACET® has not been studied in patients with impaired renal function. Experience with tramadol suggests that impaired renal function results in a decreased rate and extent of excretion of tramadol and its active metabolite, M1. In patients with creatinine clearances of less than 30 mL/min, it is recommended that the dosing interval of ULTRACET® be increased not to exceed 2 tablets every 12 hours.
Use in Hepatic Disease
ULTRACET® has not been studied in patients with impaired hepatic function. The use of ULTRACET® in patients with hepatic impairment is not recommended (see WARNINGS, Use With Alcohol).
Information for Patients
- Patients should be informed that ULTRACET® may cause seizures and/or serotonin syndrome with concomitant use of serotonergic agents (including SSRIs, SNRIs, and triptans) or drugs that significantly reduce the metabolic clearance of tramadol.
- ULTRACET® may impair mental or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery.
- ULTRACET® should not be taken with alcohol containing beverages.
- The patient should be instructed not to take ULTRACET® in combination with other tramadol or acetaminophen-containing products, including over-the-counter preparations.
- ULTRACET® should be used with caution when taking medications such as tranquilizers, hypnotics or other opiate containing analgesics.
- The patient should be instructed to inform the physician if they are pregnant, think they might become pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant (see PRECAUTIONS, Labor and Delivery).
- The patient should understand the single-dose and 24-hour dose limit and the time interval between doses, since exceeding these recommendations can result in respiratory depression, seizures, hepatic toxicity and death.
CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 Inhibitors
Concomitant administration of CYP2D6 and/or CYP3A4 inhibitors (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics), such as quinidine, fluoxetine, paroxetine and amitriptyline (CYP2D6 inhibitors), and ketoconazole and erythromycin (CYP3A4 inhibitors), may reduce metabolic clearance of tramadol increasing the risk for serious adverse events including seizures and serotonin syndrome.
There have been postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome with use of tramadol and SSRIs/SNRIs or MAOIs and α2-adrenergic blockers. Caution is advised when ULTRACET® is coadministered with other drugs that may affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter systems, such as SSRIs, MAOIs, triptans, linezolid (an antibiotic which is a reversible non-selective MAOI), lithium, or St. John’s Wort. If concomitant treatment of ULTRACET® with a drug affecting the serotonergic neurotransmitter system is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see WARNINGS, Serotonin Syndrome).
Based on the mechanism of action of tramadol and the potential for serotonin syndrome, caution is advised when ULTRACET® is coadministered with a triptan. If concomitant treatment of ULTRACET® with a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see WARNINGS, Serotonin Syndrome).
Use With Carbamazepine
Patients taking carbamazepine may have a significantly reduced analgesic effect of tramadol. Because carbamazepine increases tramadol metabolism and because of the seizure risk associated with tramadol, concomitant administration of ULTRACET® and carbamazepine is not recommended.
Use With Quinidine
Tramadol is metabolized to M1 by CYP2D6. Quinidine is a selective inhibitor of that isoenzyme; so that concomitant administration of quinidine and tramadol results in increased concentrations of tramadol and reduced concentrations of M1. The clinical consequences of these findings are unknown. In vitro drug interaction studies in human liver microsomes indicate that tramadol has no effect on quinidine metabolism.
Potential for Other Drugs to Affect Tramadol
In vitro drug interaction studies in human liver microsomes indicate that concomitant administration with inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, and amitriptyline could result in some inhibition of the metabolism of tramadol.
Potential for Tramadol to Affect Other Drugs
In vitro studies indicate that tramadol is unlikely to inhibit the CYP3A4-mediated metabolism of other drugs when tramadol is administered concomitantly at therapeutic doses. Tramadol does not appear to induce its own metabolism in humans, since observed maximal plasma concentrations after multiple oral doses are higher than expected based on single-dose data. Tramadol is a mild inducer of selected drug metabolism pathways measured in animals.
Use With Cimetidine
Concomitant administration of ULTRACET® and cimetidine has not been studied. Concomitant administration of tramadol and cimetidine does not result in clinically significant changes in tramadol pharmacokinetics. Therefore, no alteration of the ULTRACET® dosage regimen is recommended.
Use With Digoxin
Post-marketing surveillance of tramadol has revealed rare reports of digoxin toxicity.
Use With Warfarin Like Compounds
Post-marketing surveillance of both tramadol and acetaminophen individual products have revealed rare alterations of warfarin effect, including elevation of prothrombin times.
While such changes have been generally of limited clinical significance for the individual products, periodic evaluation of prothrombin time should be performed when ULTRACET® and warfarin-like compounds are administered concurrently.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
There are no animal or laboratory studies on the combination product (tramadol and acetaminophen) to evaluate carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, or impairment of fertility.
A slight but statistically significant increase in two common murine tumors, pulmonary and hepatic, was observed in a mouse carcinogenicity study, particularly in aged mice. Mice were dosed orally up to 30 mg/kg (90 mg/m2 or 0.5 times the maximum daily human tramadol dosage of 185 mg/m2) for approximately two years, although the study was not done with the Maximum Tolerated Dose. This finding is not believed to suggest risk in humans. No such finding occurred in rat carcinogenicity study (dosing orally up to 30 mg/kg, 180 mg/m2, or 1 time the maximum daily human tramadol dosage).
Tramadol was not mutagenic in the following assays: Ames Salmonella microsomal activation test, CHO/HPRT mammalian cell assay, mouse lymphoma assay (in the absence of metabolic activation), dominant lethal mutation tests in mice, chromosome aberration test in Chinese hamsters, and bone marrow micronucleus tests in mice and Chinese hamsters. Weakly mutagenic results occurred in the presence of metabolic activation in the mouse lymphoma assay and micronucleus test in rats. Overall, the weight of evidence from these tests indicates that tramadol does not pose a genotoxic risk to humans.
No effects on fertility were observed for tramadol at oral dose levels up to 50 mg/kg (350 mg/m2) in male rats and 75 mg/kg (450 mg/m2) in female rats. These dosages are 1.6 and 2.4 times the maximum daily human tramadol dosage of 185 mg/m2.
Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category C
No drug-related teratogenic effects were observed in the progeny of rats treated orally with tramadol and acetaminophen. The tramadol/acetaminophen combination product was shown to be embryotoxic and fetotoxic in rats at a maternally toxic dose, 50/434 mg/kg tramadol/acetaminophen (300/2604 mg/m2 or 1.6 times the maximum daily human tramadol/acetaminophen dosage of 185/1591 mg/m2), but was not teratogenic at this dose level. Embryo and fetal toxicity consisted of decreased fetal weights and increased supernumerary ribs.
Tramadol alone was evaluated in peri- and post-natal studies in rats. Progeny of dams receiving oral (gavage) dose levels of 50 mg/kg (300 mg/m2 or 1.6 times the maximum daily human tramadol dosage) or greater had decreased weights, and pup survival was decreased early in lactation at 80 mg/kg (480 mg/m2 or 2.6 times the maximum daily human tramadol dosage).
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. ULTRACET® should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Neonatal seizures, neonatal withdrawal syndrome, fetal death and still birth have been reported with tramadol hydrochloride during post-marketing.
Labor and Delivery
ULTRACET® should not be used in pregnant women prior to or during labor unless the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Safe use in pregnancy has not been established. Chronic use during pregnancy may lead to physical dependence and post-partum withdrawal symptoms in the newborn (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE). Tramadol has been shown to cross the placenta. The mean ratio of serum tramadol in the umbilical veins compared to maternal veins was 0.83 for 40 women given tramadol during labor.
The effect of ULTRACET®, if any, on the later growth, development, and functional maturation of the child is unknown.
ULTRACET® is not recommended for obstetrical preoperative medication or for post-delivery analgesia in nursing mothers because its safety in infants and newborns has not been studied.
Following a single IV 100 mg dose of tramadol, the cumulative excretion in breast milk within 16 hours post-dose was 100 µg of tramadol (0.1% of the maternal dose) and 27 µg of M1.