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Reports document rise in emergency care related to painkiller

May 26, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Reports issued this month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicate a significant increase in hospital emergency department visits related to the prescription opioid tramadol. The reports covered the period from 2005-2011 and focused on adverse drug reactions (such as seizures and serotonin syndrome) and incidents of misuse/abuse.

Emergency visits related to adverse reactions rose sharply from 2005-2009, with 10,901 such visits in 2005 and 25,884 visits in 2009. The figure for 2011 was 27,421. Visits related to misuse or abuse increased from 6,255 in 2005 to 21,649 in 2011, according to SAMHSA.

Women are represented in greater numbers than men in both sets of data on emergency department visits related to tramadol, according to the reports released this month. Ultram and Ultracet are among the brand-name versions of tramadol.

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