In an attempt to get closer to understanding the plague of prescription pain-killer abuse, a study by a team of University of Kentucky researchers has shed new light on the potential habit-forming properties of the popular pain medication Tramadol. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The paper is slated to appear in an upcoming edition of the academic journal Psychopharmacology.
“The important thing about this is I think we all assumed that any abuse
of Tramadol or any abuse potential Tramadol had was because of the way
it activated the opioid receptors in the brain and that may not be the
case,” said lead study author William W. Stoops of the UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science, the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR) and the UK College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology. “It’s pretty well accepted that with opioid drugs
like oxycodone, hydromorphone and hydrocodone, when you block the opioid
receptors in the brain, folks aren’t going to abuse the drug. That is
not the case for Tramadol. Opioid receptors are important in Tramadol
use and abuse, but they appear to not be the entire story.”
Other University of Kentucky researchers involved in the study are Michelle R. Lofwall, Paul A. Nuzzo, Lori B. Craig, Anthony J. Siegel and Sharon L. Walsh.