Extended-release formulations of tramadol in the treatment of chronic pain

Joseph V. Pergolizzi, Robert Taylor, Robert B. Raffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: Tramadol is a centrally acting analgesic available throughout the world. Its dual opioid and non-opioid mechanisms of action, favorable efficacy and safety clinical profiles and non-controlled regulatory status in most markets contribute to its widespread use. A drawback of the immediate-release formulation of tramadol (four-times-a-day dosing) might be addressed by an extended-release formulation. Extended-release formulations also can offer advantages in the management of chronic pain: convenience, reduced pill burden (possibly leading to improved compliance) and the attenuation of peaks and troughs in serum concentration (possibly leading to reduced adverse effects). Areas covered: The authors review tramadol's mechanisms of action and the clinical literature regarding the use of tramadol extended-release formulations for the management of conditions involving chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain syndromes, osteoarthritis and cancer pain. Expert opinion: Based on the literature cited, extended-release formulations of tramadol seem to offer a rational and important addition to the analgesic armamentarium. As is true for all such options, the benefits and risks must be assessed for each patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1768
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Analgesia
  • Extended-release formulation
  • Pain
  • Pain management
  • Tramadol
  • Tramadol extended release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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