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The Discriminative Effects of Tramadol in Humans

This study has been completed.
Sponsor:
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT00499746
First Posted: July 11, 2007
Last Update Posted: October 17, 2017
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Eric Strain, MD, Johns Hopkins University
  Purpose
This research is part of a set of studies whose purpose is to test whether tramadol can be used for the treatment of opioid addiction. Tramadol is already available in the United States as a pain medicine marketed as Ultram. It has effects similar to morphine, and it may also have effects similar to other drugs like stimulants. The doses of tramadol used in this study are higher than those generally used for the treatment of pain. To be in this study a participant must be a user of opioids (drugs like heroin) and stimulants (drugs like cocaine), but cannot be addicted to either. The person must be between 21-55 years old, and generally healthy. Up to 12 people will take part in this study.

Condition Intervention Phase
Opioid Abuse Opioid Addiction Stimulant Abuse Stimulant Addiction Drug: tramadol Drug: placebo Drug: Hydromorphone Drug: Methylphenidate Phase 1 Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Medications Development for Drug Abuse Disorders

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by Eric Strain, MD, Johns Hopkins University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Acquisition of Discrimination Assessed by Accuracy of the Discrimination Test [ Time Frame: 1 day ]
    The acquisition of discrimination was to test whether volunteers could identify each training drug condition by the correct letter code. Results are the percentage of correct responses with a range of 0% to 100%.

  • Discrimination Effects Assessed by Operant Responses [ Time Frame: 1 day ]
    Volunteers emitted operant responses on computer keys that corresponded to the training letter, on a fixed interval 1 second schedule for 8.5 minutes. The range is from 0 to 500 operant responses.

  • Discrimination Effects Assessed by Point Distribution [ Time Frame: 1day ]
    In point distribution, volunteers distributed 50 points among three training drug letters depending on how certain they were of the identity of the administrated drug. Maximum total is 50 points.

  • Discrimination Effects Assessed by Discrete Choice [ Time Frame: 1 day ]

    During discrete choice, volunteers were given three choices (placebo, hydromorphone, methylphenidate) and were asked to choose which of the training drugs they thought they received. The outcome measure illustrates the percentage of participants who chose either placebo, hydromorphone, or methylphenidate during each drug condition (i.e., Placebo, Hydromorphone 8 mg, Tramadol 50 mg, etc.), ranging from 0-100.

    The outcome measure represents the percentage of participants who chose either placebo, opioid agonist, or stimulant across each drug condition.



Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Physiologic Effects Assessed by the Pharmacological Class Questionnaire [ Time Frame: Measure at 120 min after drug administration ]

    During the peak (assessed at 120 min) of each drug administration, participants were asked to complete the pharmacological class questionnaire. The pharmacological class questionnaire had volunteers indicate which drug class was most similar to the drug condition they received. Ten drug classes were listed with descriptive labels and examples of each: placebo, opiates (or opioid agonist), phenothiazines, barbiturates, antidepressants, opiate antagonists, hallucinogens, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and other. Of these choices, participants chose 3: placebo, opioid agonist, and stimulant.

    The outcome measure represents the percentage of participants who chose either placebo, opioid agonist, or stimulant across each drug condition.


  • Physiological Effects Assessed by Peak Change From Baseline Pupil Diameter [ Time Frame: Measure at 120 min after drug administration ]
    Change in pupil diameter (mm) at peak (120 min) compared to baseline measure of pupil diameter

  • Peak Change From Baseline Opioid Agonist Effects Assessed by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) [ Time Frame: Measure at 120 min after drug administration ]
    The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) measures subjective ratings of opioid agonist effects. The scale on this measure ranges from 0 being "Not at all" to 100 being "Extremely". On this scale, higher scores indicate a stronger drug effect. The outcome measure illustrates a difference from peak (120 min) to baseline measure on VAS.

  • Peak Change From Baseline Stimulant Effects Assessed by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) [ Time Frame: Measure at 120 min after drug administration ]
    The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) measures subjective ratings of stimulant effects. The scale on this measure ranges from 0 being "Not at all" to 100 being "Extremely". On this scale, higher scores indicate a stronger drug effect. The outcome measure illustrates a difference from peak (120 min) to baseline measure.


Enrollment: 20
Study Start Date: November 2007
Study Completion Date: August 2011
Primary Completion Date: April 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Tramadol
oral dose, once per day
Drug: tramadol
oral dose, once per day
Other Name: Ultram
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
oral dose, once per day
Drug: placebo
oral dose, once per day
Other Name: sugar pill
Active Comparator: hydromorphone
oral dose, once per day
Drug: Hydromorphone
oral dose, once per day
Other Name: Dilaudid
Active Comparator: methylphenidate
oral dose, once per day
Drug: Methylphenidate
oral dose, once per day
Other Name: stimulant

Detailed Description:

This is a human laboratory study that tests the effects of tramadol as a step in the possible development of this medication as a new treatment for opioid dependence. Tramadol is a mild/moderate mu agonist opioid currently marketed as an analgesic that has a unique profile of effects. One of the primary metabolites of tramadol, mono-O-demethyltramadol (referred to as M1) exerts opioid agonist effects at the mu receptor. In addition, tramadol and M1 produce reuptake blockade of monoamines, and this latter effect may positively influence its analgesic efficacy, in addition to influencing the subjective effects produced by tramadol. Preclinical evidence suggests that tramadol's effects on monoamine reuptake may have antidepressant qualities as well. Given tramadol's diverse pharmacodynamic profile, a systematic characterization of its subjective effects in opioid-experienced subjects would provide valuable information regarding its abuse liability, and its potential utility as a treatment for opioid dependence.

The characterization of an opioid medication's profile can be accomplished through a variety of experimental procedures. One useful procedure for assessing the profile of an opioid is a drug discrimination procedure. In this methodology, subjects are first trained to discriminate reference drugs such as placebo and an opioid agonist, and then administered doses of a novel compound to determine how like (or unlike) it is to the reference training conditions. Our laboratory has a long history of using this drug discrimination methodology to study and to characterize opioids with varying opioid receptor activity profiles. Studies have generally included either two or three training conditions in humans. Using this technique in volunteers, studies have characterized the profile of a number of opioids including (for example) butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, and buprenorphine.

While most of these studies testing the effects of mixed agonist-antagonist opioids have used an opioid agonist and placebo as the training conditions, tramadol's profile of effects suggests that there may be a non-opioid component of action at serotonin and norepinephrine sites that will be useful to distinguish. In particular, it is of interest to determine the extent to which tramadol is identified as being like a prototypic mu agonist opioid, whether it is substantially identified as being like a non-opioid compound, and if this non-opioid component is related to enhancement of monoamine effects. In order to provide a meaningful non-opioid contrast training condition, this study will compare different doses of tramadol to training conditions of placebo, a mu agonist opioid, and a prototypic stimulant.

Overall, this evaluation will provide a greater understanding of the subjective effect profile of tramadol in comparison to a prototypic mu opioid and a prototypic stimulant. If tramadol is to be useful in the treatment of opioid dependence, a thorough assessment of its subjective effects in experienced opioid and stimulant abusers is warranted.

  Eligibility

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Months to 55 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Study subjects are male and female non-dependent opioid users with active stimulant use.
  • Between the ages of 21-55
  • In good physical health
  • Without significant psychiatric illness besides their drug use.
  • Females are required to provide a negative pregnancy test prior to study participation.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Subjects are excluded if they have evidence of significant medical (e.g., insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) or psychiatric (e.g., schizophrenia) illness.
  • Subjects with a history of seizures will be excluded.
  • Persons with current history of significant alcohol or sedative/hypnotic drug use will be excluded from study participation.
  • Applicants seeking treatment for their substance abuse will not be admitted to the study, and will be provided information about treatment services available.
  Contacts and Locations
Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00499746


Locations
United States, Maryland
Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21224
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Eric C Strain, M.D. Johns Hopkins University
  More Information

Publications:
Responsible Party: Eric Strain, MD, Professor, Johns Hopkins University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00499746     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: NIDA-18125-3
R01DA018125 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
DPMCDA ( Other Identifier: NIDA )
First Submitted: July 9, 2007
First Posted: July 11, 2007
Results First Submitted: August 18, 2012
Results First Posted: October 17, 2017
Last Update Posted: October 17, 2017
Last Verified: September 2017

Keywords provided by Eric Strain, MD, Johns Hopkins University:
drug discrimination
opioid pharmacology
behavioral pharmacology
human research

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Behavior, Addictive
Compulsive Behavior
Impulsive Behavior
Methylphenidate
Tramadol
Hydromorphone
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Dopamine Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Analgesics, Opioid
Narcotics
Central Nervous System Depressants
Analgesics
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents