DEA Schedules Tramadol As A Schedule IV Controlled Substance

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On July 2, 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published its Final Rule placing tramadol into Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid analgesic used in the treatment of pain, and brand names for the substance include Ultram®, Ultram ER®, Ultracet®, and ConZip®.

Tramadol initially was approved for marketing in 1995, but the drug was not scheduled under the CSA at that time. DEA’s rescheduling of tramadol comes at a time of growing concerns relating to abuse and misuse of opioid analgesics. Tramadol increasingly is abused in combination with other controlled substances. One commenter described tramadol as a “loop hole drug” that is “addictive, abused, and diverted” but that may have not been considered dangerous because it was not controlled. Notably, a number of states already had scheduled tramadol as a controlled substance, including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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