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THE Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana has cautioned the general public against the proliferation and abuse of Tramadol, an opioid analgesic.
The society says although tramadol is an approved drug for the management of pain, the strengths approved for use in Ghana by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) were the 50mg and 100mg oral capsules as against the (200mg/250mg) being patronised in the country, especially among the youth.
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Benjamin Kwame Botwe, who cited the caution on behalf of the society at the launch of the 2017 World Pharmacists Day in Accra, explained that recent findings have shown the high doses of tramadol (200mg/250mg) popularly called “Tramol” among the youth.
He, therefore, called on all abusers turned addicts to seek help and also cautioned 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.
“It had been noted in Ghana that, this high dose tramadol was mostly found in highly populated and concentrated areas including markets and lorry stations in some parts of the country,”he stressed.
He explained that tramadol was a medicine only prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain and when taken, worked on the nervous system and the brain to reduce the pain.
Mr Botwe further explained that there were many different forms, strengths and brands of tramadol, some of which had immediate release formulations that start working quickly to ease the pain while others were sustained or delayed release.
He, however 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 and added that in some cases, overdose of tramadol may lead to difficulty in breathing and even death.
He cautioned tramadol should only be taken on a medical doctor’s prescription and, therefore, called on the general public to report any sale of tramadol outside of licensed pharmacies, to FDA and the Pharmacy Council offices across the country.
He and also called on teachers, parents and care-givers to be on the lookout for suspected behaviours 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,” he added.
Mr Botwe applauded pharmacists for their role in the health delivery system in Ghana and called on government to continue to support the efforts of the society by improving working conditions of pharmacists in the country.
In a related development,JanssenPharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, will partner the Ghana Education Service to fight worm infestation among school children as part of events to mark the 2017 World Pharmacists Day.
Commenting on the partnership, the Ghana Country Manager of Janssen, Priscilla Owusu-Sekyere, said “following the successful partnership last year, we want to continue working together to help teach primary school children about the dangers of poor sanitation and the importance of effective hand washing.
She said the worm infestation awareness campaign is very important because it is a means of contributing to the development of the human capital for economic growth, adding that diseases from parasites and worm infestations such as guinea-worm, schistomiasis and other neglected tropical diseases impose a heavy burden on the population.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Health KwakuAgyeman Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, said the innovative model of collaboration and local empowerment between Janssen, Ghanaian pharmacists and school children, has already seen positive results, and the latest activity is a new opportunity to educate children.
He said this unified effort will take the country one step closer to wiping out preventable worm infestations in Ghana.
sOURCE: John Elliot HAGAN || tHE fINDER, Accra