Haematological Presentations in Acute and Chronic Tramadol Intoxication

*Corresponding author: Loveday U. Zebedee, Owubokiri N. Jeremiah, Anthony E. Soroh and Eni-yimini S. Agoro*

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original research


Tramadol is a synthetic centrally acting analgesic used worldwide for pain relief, but now abused as a euphoria generating substance. The short- and long-term implications of tramadol intoxication on blood cells and its components are still hazy and controversial.
Our primary aim was to evaluate the alterative pattern of haematological parameters resulting from acute or chronic tramadol intoxication.
The study was made of acute and chronic phases of sixty male rats (Rattusnorvegicus) randomly pair-divided into established groups of six male rats each. The acute stage consisted of a control group of 6 rats administered with normal saline solution, and a treatment group of 6 rats administered with lethal dose of tramadol. The control group for the chronic stage consisted of 6 rats that were administered normal saline solution. Whereas, the tramadol-dependent groups comprised of 3 groups of 6 rats each administered orally with 50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg, and 200 mg/kg of tramadol for 90 days respectively. Statistical analyses consisted of the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), Student’s t-test, and Pearson’s Correlation using the JMP statistical discoveryℱ software version 14.1. Blood samples were collected after anesthetic sacrifice by cardiac puncture for the analysis of full blood
count and red cell indices using SYSMEX Automated Blood Count machine (SYSMEX KX-21N ANALYZER) and microscopy for blood film reading.
Results of the acute phase of the study showed that the packed cell volume (PCV) in the treatment group (51.00±2.96%) was significantly higher (t=3.99, p=0.002) than control (37.83±1.43%). Similarly, the haemoglobin concentration (Hb) in the treatment group (14.70±0.46 g/dL) was significantly higher (t=5.10, p=0.005) than control (11.55±0.41 g/dL). The mean cell haemoglobin
concentration (MCHC) was significantly lower (t=2.67, p=0.02) in the control group (28.30±0.52 g/dL) than treatment (30.43±0.61 g/dL). However, that of the chronic phase exhibited a progressive increase in platelet count which was proportional to increasing dosage of treatment (t=8.59, p=0.007).
This study has demonstrated that tramadol administration could cause haematological alterations which could be beneficial if administrated optimally and deleterious, if abused. Therefore, indiscriminate and prolonged use of tramadol should be monitored to avert haemotoxicity.
Tramadol; Intoxication rats; Full blood count; Red cell indices.