Colonoscopy is often disturbed by poor patient tolerance.
Benzodiazepines or opiates are routinely used to overcome such problems, despite the possibility of undesired effects.
Tramadol, an opiate analogue with potentially fewer side effects, has not been tested yet to this end.
Researchers from Italy undertook a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of tramadol as a premedication for the colonoscopic procedure.
The research group included 50 patients in the study who were randomly allocated either an i.v. infusion of 100 ml saline, with 100 mg tramadol or saline alone, before endoscopy.
| Tramadol monotherapy seems scarcely effective for controlling pain evoked by colonoscopy|
|Digestive Diseases and Sciences|
At the end of the procedure patients the researchers asked the participants to score the discomfort experienced and to give an exam evaluation.
The endoscopist was also asked to analyze his performance.
The researchers noted that tramadol patients reported a pain score of 39 ± 10 compared to 45 ± 8 for the placebo group.
Evaluation of the endoscopy was also similar: tramadol, 66 ± 12; placebo, 70 ± 9.
The group found that the endoscopist also reported a similar score: 65 ± 4 after tramadol and 69 ± 4 after placebo.
No significant sex- or age-related differences were detected.
Laurino Grossi concluded, "Tramadol, at least as a monotherapy, seems scarcely effective for controlling pain evoked by colonoscopy."