DEA Placement of Tramadol Into Schedule IV

Tramadol is an opioid analgesic and is most commonly abused by those addicted to narcotics, chronic pain patients, and health professionals.  Tramadol was approved for marketing in the United States as a noncontrolled analgesic in 1995 under the trade name of Ultram®.  Until recently, it had remained an uncontrolled substance.  Starting August 18, 2014, tramadol is now a schedule IV controlled substance, and will be regulated as such moving forward.

Supporters of this ruling have been concerned about the abuse potential and have referred to tramadol as a ” ‘loop hole’ drug which is addictive, abused and diverted, but which is not yet realized as such by many patients and prescribers due to its current non-controlled status.”  The hope is by scheduling this drug, tramadol will be subject to the same controls  as other addictive controlled substances.

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