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      The role of tramadol in current treatment strategies for musculoskeletal pain

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          Non-selective and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been the mainstay of treatment for musculoskeletal pain of moderate intensity. However, in addition to gastrointestinal and renal toxicity, an increased cardiovascular risk may be a class effect for all NSAIDs. Despite these safety risks and the acknowledged ceiling effect of NSAIDs, many doctors still use them to treat moderate, mostly musculoskeletal pain. Recent guidelines for treating osteoarthritis and low back pain, issued by numerous professional medical societies, recommend NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors only in strictly defined circumstances, at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest possible period of time. These recent guidelines bring more focus to the usage of paracetamol and opioids. But opioids still remain under-utilized, although they are effective with minimal organ toxicity. In this setting, the atypical, centrally acting analgesic tramadol offers important benefits. Its multi-modal effect results from a dual mode of action, ie, opioid and monoaminergic mechanisms, with efficacy in both nociceptive and neuropathic pain. Moreover, fewer instances of side effects such as constipation, respiratory depression, and sedation occur than with traditional opioids, and tramadol has been prescribed for 30 years for a broad range of indications. Tramadol is now regarded as the first-line analgesic for many musculoskeletal indications. In conclusion, it is recommended to better implement the more recent guidelines focusing on pain management and consider the role of tramadol in musculoskeletal pain treatment strategies.

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          Most cited references 60

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            New studies of the treatment of neuropathic pain have increased the need for an updated review of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to support an evidence based algorithm to treat neuropathic pain conditions. Available studies were identified using a MEDLINE and EMBASE search. One hundred and five studies were included. Numbers needed to treat (NNT) and numbers needed to harm (NNH) were used to compare efficacy and safety of the treatments in different neuropathic pain syndromes. The quality of each trial was assessed. Tricyclic antidepressants and the anticonvulsants gabapentin and pregabalin were the most frequently studied drug classes. In peripheral neuropathic pain, the lowest NNT was for tricyclic antidepressants, followed by opioids and the anticonvulsants gabapentin and pregabalin. For central neuropathic pain there is limited data. NNT and NNH are currently the best way to assess relative efficacy and safety, but the need for dichotomous data, which may have to be estimated retrospectively for old trials, and the methodological complexity of pooling data from small cross-over and large parallel group trials, remain as limitations.
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              EULAR evidence based recommendations for the management of hip osteoarthritis: report of a task force of the EULAR Standing Committee for International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutics (ESCISIT).

              To develop evidence based recommendations for the management of hip osteoarthritis (OA). The multidisciplinary guideline development group comprised 18 rheumatologists, 4 orthopaedic surgeons, and 1 epidemiologist, representing 14 European countries. Each participant contributed up to 10 propositions describing key clinical aspects of hip OA management. Ten final recommendations were agreed using a Delphi consensus approach. Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and HTA reports were searched systematically to obtain research evidence for each proposition. Where possible, outcome data for efficacy, adverse effects, and cost effectiveness were abstracted. Effect size, rate ratio, number needed to treat, and incremental cost effectiveness ratio were calculated. The quality of evidence was categorised according to the evidence hierarchy. The strength of recommendation was assessed using the traditional A-D grading scale and a visual analogue scale. Ten key treatment propositions were generated through three Delphi rounds. They included 21 interventions, such as paracetamol, NSAIDs, symptomatic slow acting disease modifying drugs, opioids, intra-articular steroids, non-pharmacological treatment, total hip replacement, osteotomy, and two general propositions. 461 studies were identified from the literature search for the proposed interventions of efficacy, side effects, and cost effectiveness. Research evidence supported 15 interventions in the treatment of hip OA. Evidence specific for the hip was strikingly lacking. Strength of recommendation varied according to category of research evidence and expert opinion. Ten key recommendations for the treatment of hip OA were developed based on research evidence and expert consensus. The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of these recommendations were evaluated and the strength of recommendation was scored.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                October 2007
                October 2007
                : 3
                : 5
                : 717-723
                Pharmacology and Anaesthesiology Unit, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia and Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital Perth, Western Australia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Stephan A Schug Pharmacology and Anaesthesiology Unit, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia and Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia Email schug@ 123456cyllene.uwa.edu.au
                © 2007 Schug publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd


                chronic low back pain, tramadol, multi-modal, coxibs, osteoarthritis, nsaids, opioids, musculoskeletal pain


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