Tramadol, a prescription painkiller thought to be less risky than other narcotic pain meds, has caused a sharp spike in emergency room visits, especially among patients 55 or older, two new government reports have found.
Tramadol is typically used for the management of moderate to severe pain, such as for after surgery and for ongoing pain from arthritis. It is the active ingredient in such brand name medications as Ultram, Ultracet, ConZip, Ryzolt and Rybix ODT.
When it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995, tramadol was thought to be safer and have a lower risk of addiction than other narcotic pain relievers, with fewer gastrointestinal side effects for older adults who needed long-term pain relief.
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