USA Generic NameTramadol
Pronunciation tra·muh·daal
Trade (Brand) NamesConZip, FusePaq, Synapryn, Rybix ODT, Ryzolt, Ultram, Ultram ER
Invented byBurroughs Wellcome
Date invented1969
Date FDA Approved1985

Geriatric IndicationsPain
Geriatric Side EffectsAgitation/Increase in Agitation, confusion, constipation, nausea, hallucinations, urinary retention, withdrawal symptoms

Tramadol is an opioid painkiller used to treat moderate to severe musculoskeletal pain. Like other opioid painkillers, the use of tramadol, especially in elders, can cause hallucinations, agitation, and confusion. It can also cause other side effects such as constipation, nausea, urinary retention, and withdrawal symptoms.

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of tramadol. Likewise, constipation and urinary retention are common yet sometimes overlooked problems. These side effects are important especially in elders as these can increase the risk of falls and other complications such as fractures. Therefore, anyone on these painkillers should be monitored for these complications.

The following is from Dr. Landsverk’s new book: Living in the Moment: A Guide to Overcoming Challenges and Finding Moments of Joy in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

‘Some medical professionals believe that if a patient doesn’t complain about pain, there is no pain. Unfortunately, patients with dementia may not be able to identify the source of their distress. When those with dementia hurt, they may act out or they may become withdrawn. It is a mistake to treat agitation from pain (such as distressing arthritis or musculoskeletal pain) with a sedative like lorazepam (Ativan), rather than with pain-control measures…’

If you are interested in learning about other Medications such as Ativan, Haldol and Xanax click here.