NAFDAC Seized 35 Containers of Tramadol
What is tramadol?
Tramadol, sold in particular under the brand name Ultram, is an opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to moderately pain. When the drug is taken by mouth in an immediate-release formulation, pain relief usually begins within an hour. It is often associated with paracetamol (acetaminophen), known to improve the effectiveness of tramadol in the relief of pain.
Common side effects include: constipation, itching and nausea. Serious side effects may include seizures, increased risk of serotonin syndrome, reduced alertness, and substance abuse.
A change in dosage may be recommended for people with kidney or liver problems. It is not recommended for people at risk of suicide. Although not recommended for women who are breastfeeding, those who take a single dose should not usually stop breastfeeding.
It works by binding to the μ-opioid receptor and acting as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Tramadol is in the class of benzenoids. In the body, it is converted to desmetramadol, which is a more powerful opioid.
Tramadol was launched and marketed under the name “Tramal” by the German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH in 1977 in West Germany and 20 years later in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. It is marketed under many brands around the world.
Professor Moji Adeyeye, director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), said that no fewer than 35 tramadol containers have been seized in various ports across the country.
Adeyeye revealed this during a conversation with the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
She said nine of the tramadol containers seized had been handed over to NAFDAC by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and had been destroyed by her agency.
“We are working hard with customs on this and every time they pick up a container, they usually invite us to see the containers with Tramadol.
“So far, 35 containers have been seized and only nine of them have been handed over to NAFDAC, which we destroyed,” she said.
However, she criticized the delay by the customs in handing over the remaining containers to her agency.
The director of NAFDAC said that tramadol was a restricted drug but that it had been abused by young Nigerians who used it without a prescription.
According to Adeyeye, who is also professor of pharmacology, the drug destroys the brains of children, thus threatening the future generation of the Nation.
She praised the current administration for imposing an embargo on codeine, which, like tramadol, should only be administered by prescription, as in advanced countries.
The director general said the agency was more determined to stem the threat of illicit and dummy drugs in the country.
By Mustapha Sumaila