Extended-release tramadol may help reduce withdrawal symptoms in patients being treated for opioid use disorder, according to a JAMA Psychiatry study partly funded by industry.
Roughly 100 adults with opioid use disorder were stabilized with morphine for 7–10 days in a residential research facility. During the subsequent 7-day taper phase, they were randomized to receive clonidine, buprenorphine, or extended-release tramadol (a Schedule V medication and opioid agonist) four times a day. In the post-taper phase, all participants received placebo capsules and tablets.
During the taper phase, tramadol recipients had fewer withdrawal symptoms than clonidine recipients and about the same as buprenorphine recipients. In addition, tramadol recipients did not have a delayed onset of opioid withdrawal during the post-taper phase.
The authors say that the findings “empirically support the use and further evaluation of tramadol ER for medically supervised opioid withdrawal.”