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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Tramadol with or without paracetamol (acetaminophen) for cancer pain

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (70th percentile)

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1 news outlet
1 blog
47 X users


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272 Mendeley
Tramadol with or without paracetamol (acetaminophen) for cancer pain
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012508.pub2
Pubmed ID

Philip J Wiffen, Sheena Derry, R Andrew Moore


Tramadol is an opioid analgesic licensed for use in moderate to severe pain. It is considered as a low risk for abuse, so control regulations are not as stringent as for 'strong' opioids such as morphine. It has a potential role as a step 2 option of the World Health Organization (WHO) analgesic ladder. To assess the benefits and adverse effects of tramadol with or without paracetamol (acetaminophen) for cancer-related pain. We searched the following databases using a wide range of search terms: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and LILACS. We also searched three clinical trials registry databases. The date of the last search was 2 November 2016. We selected studies that were randomised, with placebo or active controls, or both, and included a minimum of 10 participants per treatment arm. We were interested particularly in blinded studies, but also included open studies.We excluded non-randomised studies, studies of experimental pain, case reports, and clinical observations. Two review authors independently extracted data using a standard form and checked for agreement before entry into Review Manager 5. We included information about the number of participants treated and demographic details, type of cancer, drug and dosing regimen, study design (placebo or active control) and methods, study duration and follow-up, analgesic outcome measures and results, withdrawals, and adverse events. We collated multiple reports of the same study, so that each study, rather than each report, was the unit of interest in the review. We assessed the evidence using GRADE and created a 'Summary of findings' table.The main outcomes of interest for benefit were pain reduction of 30% or greater and 50% or greater from baseline, participants with pain no worse than mild, and participants feeling much improved or very much improved. We included 10 studies (12 reports) with 958 adult participants. All the studies enrolled participants with chronic malignant tumour-related pain who were experiencing pain intensities described as moderate to severe, with most experiencing at least 4/10 with current treatment. The mean ages were 59 to 70 years, with participants aged between 24 and 87 years. Study length ranged from one day to six months. Five studies used a cross-over design. Tramadol doses ranged from 50 mg as single dose to 600 mg per day; doses of 300 mg per day to 400 mg per day were most common.Nine studies were at high risk of bias for one to four criteria (only one high risk of bias for size). We judged all the results to be very low quality evidence because of widespread lack of blinding of outcome assessment, inadequately described sequence generation, allocation concealment, and small numbers of participants and events. Important outcomes were poorly reported. There were eight different active comparators and one comparison with placebo. There was little information available for any comparison and no firm conclusions could be drawn for any outcome.Single comparisons of oral tramadol with codeine plus paracetamol, of dihydrocodeine, and of rectal versus oral tramadol provided no data for key outcomes. One study used tramadol combined with paracetamol; four participants received this intervention. One study compared tramadol with flupirtine - a drug that is no longer available. One study compared tramadol with placebo and a combination of cobrotoxin, tramadol, and ibuprofen, but the dosing schedule poorly explained.Two studies (191 participants) compared tramadol with buprenorphine. One study (131 participants) reported a similar proportion of no or mild pain at 14 days.Three studies (300 participants) compared tramadol with morphine. Only one study, combining tramadol, tramadol plus paracetamol, and paracetamol plus codeine as a single weak-opioid group reported results. Weak opioid produced reduction in pain of at least 30% from baseline in 55/117 (47%) participants, compared with 91/110 (82%) participants with morphine. Weak opioid produced reduction in pain of at least 50% in 49/117 (42%) participants, compared with 83/110 (75%) participants with morphine.There was no useful information for any other outcome of benefit or harm. There is limited, very low quality, evidence from randomised controlled trials that tramadol produced pain relief in some adults with pain due to cancer and no evidence at all for children. There is very low quality evidence that it is not as effective as morphine. This review does not provide a reliable indication of the likely effect. The likelihood that the effect will be substantially different is very high. The place of tramadol in managing cancer pain and its role as step 2 of the WHO analgesic ladder is unclear.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 47 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 272 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 272 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 36 13%
Researcher 23 8%
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 8%
Student > Bachelor 22 8%
Other 17 6%
Other 46 17%
Unknown 106 39%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 88 32%
Nursing and Health Professions 25 9%
Psychology 11 4%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 10 4%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 3 1%
Other 15 6%
Unknown 120 44%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 40. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 28 January 2021.
All research outputs
of 25,461,852 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,090 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 325,454 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 203 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,461,852 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,090 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 38.2. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 325,454 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 203 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 70% of its contemporaries.