Drug Enforcement Administration Seeks Scheduling of Tramadol

Citing increasing evidence of substantial abuse and diversion of tramadol, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposes oversight of tramadol as a Schedule IV substance. The DEA seeks comments on the proposed scheduling of tramadol through January 3, 2014.

Recognizing the value of tramadol in veterinary medicine, our volunteer governance groups led by the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, and Council on Veterinary Service are assessing the DEA’s proposal. In previous correspondence on opioid issues, in line with our mission, AVMA has recognized public health concerns regarding abuse/misuse, while also underscoring to the federal government the importance of such products in veterinary practice. In line with previous federal findings, we have also underscored to federal agencies how little diversion is associated with the veterinary medical profession.

To read more about current issues related to controlled substances, see our suggestions on compliance with DEA’s rules, and information on AVMA’s advocacy activities on DEA issues (including our strong advocacy on Capitol Hill for the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act).

5 thoughts on “Drug Enforcement Administration Seeks Scheduling of Tramadol

  1. New Mexico has made tramadol a controlled drug and I think all states and/or the federal government should as well.

  2. While the possibility for abuse is there, I feel that one more layer of federal paper work will not stop some individual from either abusing the substance, or finding a way to gain access. The good for animal use is far exceeded by the rare occasion of abuse by humans.
    This compound is one that can be used to great effect, and such, need no additional monitoring.

  3. I am a volunteer on the AVMA COBTA referred to in this blog post. Our companion animal practice has treated Tramadol as a CS for a few years. We log it the same as other CS. The only difference is we do not have to send in a DEA form when we order. I do think it is wise to keep track of the dispensing and prescribing of this drug. There is abuse potential and I am not opposed to the DEA scheduling tramadol because of this fact.

    I believe it will have minimal impact on veterinarians and I am not sure what reasons AVMA could cite for opposing this proposal by DEA. As veterinarians, we should support efforts to prevent abuse of these therapeutic pharmaceuticals.

    We are very interested in hearing from members to see how this issue affects you in day to day clinical practice. What are your thoughts? We listen and discuss what is happening out there so feel free to comment!

    K. Fred Gingrich II DVM
    Ashland, OH

  4. I think at the very least some guidelines are needed. One of my client’s sons was found taking the dog’s tramadol as an example. Also,one of my colleagues nearby is dispensing 270 tablets at a time for one patient. I think this is excessive and ill advised.

  5. The need to more tightly regulate must be balanced with the cost to owners/clients and benefits. Perhaps we need to rethink prohibition? When has it ever worked? Professionals who fail to perform their professional duty to monitor use closely should be sanctioned by their state regulatory agencies. I question the need to interject a Federal layer of regulation for this medication.