Home > Tramadol deaths in Northern Ireland: a review of cases from 1996 to 2012.

Randall, C and Crane, J (2014) Tramadol deaths in Northern Ireland: a review of cases from 1996 to 2012. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine , 23 , pp. 32-36.

In the UK tramadol is a frequently prescribed opioid analgesic which is becoming increasingly popular as a drug of misuse. Its use varies worldwide and in the last decade it has been upgraded to a controlled substance in several countries, due to an increased number of deaths associated with its use. A review of all deaths associated with tramadol in Northern Ireland was performed and this highlighted 127 cases from 1996 to the end of 2012. A 10% increase in deaths due to tramadol was noted. In 2001 tramadol deaths represented 9% of all drug misuse deaths rising to 40% in 2011. The majority of the deaths occurred in males (62%), with a median age of 41 years, living in the Belfast city area (36%). Tramadol fatalities were found in combination with other drugs/medicines (49%), alcohol (36%) or alone (23%). Most of those who died did not reach hospital, with only 2% presenting with multi-organ or acute liver failure. In just over half of the deaths tramadol had not been prescribed by a medical practitioner (53%). Depression, addiction and seizures were recognised risk factors. An increase in awareness of tramadol toxicity is needed amongst the public and doctors.

Item Type:Article
Page Range:pp. 32-36
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Subjects:B Substances > Alcohol
B Substances > Opioids (opiates)
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Prescription drug (medicine / medication)
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Drug use > Drug intoxication > Poisoning (overdose)
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Risk and protective factors > Risk factors
P Demography, epidemiology, and history > Population dynamics > Substance related mortality / death
VA Geographic area > Europe > Northern Ireland

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