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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Tramadol for neuropathic pain in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (92nd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (70th percentile)


129 Dimensions

Readers on

417 Mendeley
Tramadol for neuropathic pain in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd003726.pub4
Pubmed ID

Rudolf Martin Duehmke, Sheena Derry, Philip J Wiffen, Rae F Bell, Dominic Aldington, R Andrew Moore


This review is an update of a review of tramadol for neuropathic pain, published in 2006; updating was to bring the review in line with current standards. Neuropathic pain, which is caused by a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system, may be central or peripheral in origin. Peripheral neuropathic pain often includes symptoms such as burning or shooting sensations, abnormal sensitivity to normally painless stimuli, or an increased sensitivity to normally painful stimuli. Neuropathic pain is a common symptom in many diseases of the peripheral nervous system. To assess the analgesic efficacy of tramadol compared with placebo or other active interventions for chronic neuropathic pain in adults, and the adverse events associated with its use in clinical trials. We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and Embase for randomised controlled trials from inception to January 2017. We also searched the reference lists of retrieved studies and reviews, and online clinical trial registries. We included randomised, double-blind trials of two weeks' duration or longer, comparing tramadol (any route of administration) with placebo or another active treatment for neuropathic pain, with subjective pain assessment by the participant. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality and potential bias. Primary outcomes were participants with substantial pain relief (at least 50% pain relief over baseline or very much improved on Patient Global Impression of Change scale (PGIC)), or moderate pain relief (at least 30% pain relief over baseline or much or very much improved on PGIC). Where pooled analysis was possible, we used dichotomous data to calculate risk ratio (RR) and number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNT) or harmful outcome (NNH), using standard methods. We assessed the quality of the evidence using GRADE and created 'Summary of findings' tables. We identified six randomised, double-blind studies involving 438 participants with suitably characterised neuropathic pain. In each, tramadol was started at a dose of about 100 mg daily and increased over one to two weeks to a maximum of 400 mg daily or the maximum tolerated dose, and then maintained for the remainder of the study. Participants had experienced moderate or severe neuropathic pain for at least three months due to cancer, cancer treatment, postherpetic neuralgia, peripheral diabetic neuropathy, spinal cord injury, or polyneuropathy. The mean age was 50 to 67 years with approximately equal numbers of men and women. Exclusions were typically people with other significant comorbidity or pain from other causes. Study duration for treatments was four to six weeks, and two studies had a cross-over design.Not all studies reported all the outcomes of interest, and there were limited data for pain outcomes. At least 50% pain intensity reduction was reported in three studies (265 participants, 110 events). Using a random-effects analysis, 70/132 (53%) had at least 50% pain relief with tramadol, and 40/133 (30%) with placebo; the risk ratio (RR) was 2.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 4.6). The NNT calculated from these data was 4.4 (95% CI 2.9 to 8.8). We downgraded the evidence for this outcome by two levels to low quality because of the small size of studies and of the pooled data set, because there were only 110 actual events, the analysis included different types of neuropathic pain, the studies all had at least one high risk of potential bias, and because of the limited duration of the studies.Participants experienced more adverse events with tramadol than placebo. Report of any adverse event was higher with tramadol (58%) than placebo (34%) (4 studies, 266 participants, 123 events; RR 1.6 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.1); NNH 4.2 (95% CI 2.8 to 8.3)). Adverse event withdrawal was higher with tramadol (16%) than placebo (3%) (6 studies, 485 participants, 45 events; RR 4.1 (95% CI 2.0 to 8.4); NNH 8.2 (95% CI 5.8 to 14)). Only four serious adverse events were reported, without obvious attribution to treatment, and no deaths were reported. We downgraded the evidence for this outcome by two or three levels to low or very low quality because of small study size, because there were few actual events, and because of the limited duration of the studies. There is only modest information about the use of tramadol in neuropathic pain, coming from small, largely inadequate studies with potential risk of bias. That bias would normally increase the apparent benefits of tramadol. The evidence of benefit from tramadol was of low or very low quality, meaning that it does not provide a reliable indication of the likely effect, and the likelihood is very high that the effect will be substantially different from the estimate in this systematic review.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 36 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 417 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 417 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 59 14%
Student > Bachelor 44 11%
Researcher 40 10%
Other 35 8%
Student > Ph. D. Student 35 8%
Other 74 18%
Unknown 130 31%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 138 33%
Nursing and Health Professions 40 10%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 25 6%
Psychology 13 3%
Neuroscience 9 2%
Other 47 11%
Unknown 145 35%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 30. 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 13 April 2022.
All research outputs
of 22,835,198 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,320 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 316,526 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 252 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,835,198 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 12,320 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.4. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% 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 316,526 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 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 252 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.