Scientists from Central South University found that the use of the pain medication tramadol was linked to a higher risk of hip fractures compared with the use of other pain medications.
The research is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and was conducted by Guanghua Lei et al.
A hip fracture is a break in the thighbone (femur) of your hip joint. Joints are areas where two or more bones meet.
Your hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint, where your thighbone meets your pelvic bone. The ball part of your hip joint is the head of the thighbone.
Tramadol is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain.
Tramadol extended-release tablets and capsules are only used by people who are expected to need medication to relieve pain around the clock. Tramadol is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics.
In the study, the team did an analysis of a patient database from the United Kingdom. They compared tramadol use with codeine, naproxen, ibuprofen, celecoxib, and etoricoxib use among adults aged 50 years or older.
During a one-year follow-up, the researchers found 518 hip fractures occurred among 146,956 patients taking tramadol, corresponding to approximately one additional new hip fracture per 1000 person-years relative to taking codeine (3.7 vs. 2.9, respectively).
Likewise, up to 1.5 additional new fractures per 1000 person-years occurred with tramadol than with naproxen, ibuprofen, celecoxib, and etoricoxib.
The team says considering the big impact of hip fracture on morbidity, death risk, and healthcare costs, the results point to the need to consider tramadol’s associated risk of fracture in clinical practice and treatment guidelines.
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