Year : 2022  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 75-83

Tramadol abuse and addiction: effects on learning, memory, and organ damage

1 Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Faculty of Basic Medical Science, College of Medicine, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
2 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Moses W Bariweni
Faculty of Pharmacy, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/epj.epj_58_21

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Background Addiction to controlled or prescription drugs is an increasing health burden in most countries and Nigeria is not an exception. Tramadol abuse is a menace in Nigeria. There are few reports on the health consequences of tramadol addiction in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Aim The aim of the study was to determine and educate the public on the effects of tramadol addiction on learning, memory, and organ damage. Materials and methods Adult rats were randomly assigned into four groups, n=5. Group 1 received 5 ml/kg of 0.9% normal saline orally, while groups 2, 3, and 4 were administered 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg of tramadol daily for 28 days, respectively. Behavioral tests (Y-maze and Morris water maze) were conducted on the first and last weeks of the experiment. On the 29th day, the animals were sacrificed under halothane anesthesia and organs were excised for histological examination. The results were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (GraphPad Prism 6). Results The behavioral assessments revealed dose-dependent aggression, anxiety, and spasms. Also, a reduction in escape latency in the Morris water maze and increased alternations in the Y-maze occurred to various degrees in the treated groups compared with the control. Different grades of histological abnormalities occurred in the brain, liver, and kidneys of treated rats. Conclusion Tramadol misuse can lead to learning and memory impairment in addition to long-term organ damage involving the brain, liver, and kidneys.

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