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Pharmacists Express Concern About Abuse Of Tramadol Painkiller   
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The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSG) has raised concerns with the proliferation and abuse of Tramadol, a painkiller (opioid analgesic), in the country.

According to the society, the most recent form as being speculated in the media and findings of the society have shown the high doses of tramadol (200mg/250mg) popularly called “TRAMOL” among the youth.

In a statement, signed and issued by the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Mr Njamin K. Botwe, the pharmacists said “It had been noted in Ghana that, this high dose tramadol was mostly found in highly populated and concentrated areas including markets and lorry stations in some parts of the country”.

They said although tramadol is an approved drug for the management of pain, the strengths approved for use in Ghana by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) were the 50mg and 100mg oral capsules as against the (200mg/250mg) being chased by the youth.

The Society however expressed surprise about the proliferation of the higher strength tramadol that has become popular among the youth and called for concern and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to rid the markets of this unregistered and unapproved product which has the tendency to threaten the gains made in the provision of healthcare in the country.

They said, “as a Society, we are aware of the rampant abuse of this high strength product especially in the Sahel Region and the challenges regulatory agencies throughout the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) region were facing with regards to the distribution and sale of the product”.

The pharmacists explained further that tramadol was a prescription only medicine used to treat moderate to severe pain and when taken, worked on the nervous system and the brain to reduce the feeling of pain.

They said there were many different forms, strengths and brands of tramadol, some of which had immediate release formulations that start working quickly to ease the pain while others were sustained or delayed release thus releasing the active moiety, tramadol more slowly, over several hours, to provide a constant and more even pain control.

They however noted that, the perception of good feeling that leads to abuse and misuse can lead to long term consequences such as weakness, sleepiness, insomnia, panic attacks and other symptoms of opioid dependence and added that in some cases, overdose of tramadol may lead to difficulty in breathing and even death.

They therefore called on all abusers turned addicts to seek help and also cautioned the youth who take it for recreation because of its euphoric effect to stop, as the long-term implication could have dire consequences on their health.

They said tramadol should only be taken on a medical doctor’s prescription and therefore called on the general public to report any sale of tramadol outside of licensed pharmacies to FDA and the Pharmacy Council offices across the country and also called on teachers, parents and care-givers to be on the lookout for suspected behaviors of their students, children and wards.

“For patients who are receiving treatment with prescribed tramadol, we wish to encourage you to always present your prescriptions at licensed Pharmacies and demand to speak with the Pharmacist on the dangers and possible side effects of tramadol before taking it” it added

The pharmacists said they believe the best investment any nation could make in its citizens was to ensure good health through access to good quality, efficacious, safe and affordable medicines and its rational use, and thus pledged to continue to hold onto their motto.
Source: Daily Graphic

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