Low-Dose Tramadol as an Off-Label Antidepressant: A Data Mining Analysis from the Patients' Perspective
antidepressant, data mining, depression, off-label, opioid, tramadol
ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science
Objectives: The purpose of this analysis was to assess, from the patients' perspective, the effectiveness and relative safety of tramadol as an off-label antidepressant and to determine if patients' views and experiences are consistent with the biomedical literature. Method: A data mining approach was used to analyze databases available at drugs.com. Results: Tramadol was reported to be an effective or very effective antidepressant by 94.6% of patients (123/130) who provided ratings submitted to User Reviews for Tramadol to Treat Depression (https://www.drugs.com/comments/tramadol/for-depression.html). When compared to 34 other antidepressants in the database titled Drugs Used to treat Depression (https://www.drugs.com/condition/depression.html), for which there were ≥100 individual reviews for each drug, tramadol was rated as being the most effective (effectiveness rating = 9.1/10). Phenelzine (effectiveness rating = 8.7/10) was the only other antidepressant having ≥100 individual reviews coupled with a very high (8.0-10.0) effectiveness rating. Eleven patients reported significant symptoms of withdrawal upon cessation of tramadol, and five patients reported loss or reduction of libido as a side effect. Most (57/72, 79.2%) patients who reported a dose consumed experienced relief from depression at low therapeutic doses (25-150 mg/day). Fourteen patients reported taking this antidepressant for 5-10 years, and four patients reported taking tramadol for 10 or more years. Results demonstrated that most patients' comments and beliefs are consistent with the biomedical literature. Conclusions: Patients' reviews coupled with a survey of the biomedical literature indicate that at low therapeutic doses in the absence of interactions with other drugs, adult patients found tramadol to be a generally safe, effective, and fast-acting medication for relief from depression.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Bumpus, John A., "Low-Dose Tramadol as an Off-Label Antidepressant: A Data Mining Analysis from the Patients' Perspective" (2020). Faculty Publications. 227.