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31/07/2018 » 04/08/2018

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  • News & Press: Press

    PSGH calls for measures to check tramadol abuse

    Wednesday, 20 September 2017   (0 Comments)
    Posted by: Frank KUMI, Editor
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    The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), the nation's body of pharmacists, has in a press release expressed worry over the widespread abuse of tramadol among the youth of Ghana. The statement signed by Pharm. Benjamin Kwame Botwe, the organization's President, called for concerted efforts by stakeholders to check the distribution of unregistered versions and strengths of the opioid analgesic on the Ghanaian markets.

    Read the full press statement below:


    Accra, September 18th, 2017; The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana has learnt with concern the proliferation and abuse of tramadol, an opioid analgesic, in the country. The most recent form as being speculated in the media and as our findings have shown is the high doses of tramadol (200mg/250mg) popularly called “TRAMOL” among the youth.

    Even though tramadol is an approved drug for the management of pain, the strengths approved for use in Ghana by the FDA are the 50mg and 100mg oral capsules.  

    However, the proliferation of this higher strength of tramadol that has become popular among the youth of this country calls for concern and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to rid our markets of this unregistered and unapproved product which has the tendency to threaten the gains made in the provision of healthcare in the country.

    As a Society, we are aware of the rampant abuse of this high strength product especially in the Sahel Region and the challenges regulatory agencies throughout the ECOWAS region are facing with regards to the distribution and sale of the product.  These efforts are being supported by international agencies including the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). It has been noted in Ghana that, this high dose tramadol is mostly found in highly populated and concentrated areas including markets and lorry stations in some parts of the country.  

    Tramadol is a prescription only medicine (POM) indicated to treat moderate to severe pain. When taken, it works on the nervous system and the brain to reduce the feeling of pain. There are many different forms, strengths and brands of tramadol. Some are immediate release formulations that start working quickly to ease the pain, while others are sustained or delayed release thus releasing the active moiety, tramadol, more slowly, over several hours, to provide a constant and more even pain control.

    It should however be noted that, the perception of good feeling that leads to abuse and misuse can lead to long term consequences such as weakness, sleepiness, insomnia, panic attacks and other symptoms of opioid dependence. In some cases, overdose of tramadol may lead to difficulty in breathing and even death.

    We call on abusers turned addicts to seek help and wish to caution the youth who take it for recreation because of its euphoric effect to stop, as the long-term implication could have dire consequences on their health.

    Tramadol should only be taken on a medical doctor’s prescription. We therefore call on the general public to report any sale of tramadol outside of licensed pharmacies to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA)/ Pharmacy Council offices across the country while also calling on teachers, parents and care-givers to be on the lookout for suspected behaviors of their students, children and wards.

    For patients who are receiving treatment with prescribed tramadol, we wish to encourage you to always present your prescriptions at licensed pharmacies and demand to speak with the pharmacist on the dangers and possible side effects of tramadol before taking it.

    We believe the best investment any nation can make in its citizens is to ensure good health through access to good quality, efficacious, safe and affordable medicines and its rational use, thus we will continue to hold onto our motto: "FRIENDS OF THE HUMAN RACE".