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Clinical trial examines tramadol to treat opioid withdrawal

Opioid use disorder is a public health problem that has contributed to unprecedented levels of overdose deaths in the United States.

By
Amy Wallace
A recent clinical trial found that tramadol combined with other treatments is effective at treating opioid withdrawal symptoms. Photo by chuck stock/Shutterstock
A recent clinical trial found that tramadol combined with other treatments is effective at treating opioid withdrawal symptoms. Photo by chuck stock/Shutterstock

July 12 (UPI) -- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found the drug tramadol, when combined with other therapies, may be effective for treating opioid withdrawal.

The results of the clinical trial, published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed tramadol extended-release suppressed withdrawal symptoms more than clonidine and was similar to buprenorphine, both drugs commonly used in opioid withdrawal.

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"These data suggest that tramadol ER is a promising and valuable medication for the management of opioid withdrawal in patients undergoing treatment for OUD [opioid use disorder]," researchers stated.

"Future studies should evaluate whether relapse varies following supervised withdrawal with tramadol ER versus other medications and whether tramadol ER can be used to transition patients to naltrexone treatment."

The study was conducted on 103 patients, the majority male, with opioid use disorder during a seven-day detox session.

Opioid use disorder has become a public health crisis in the United States with increasing numbers of overdose deaths occurring on a daily basis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 33,000 people in the United States died of opioid use disorder in 2015.

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