Analyze for the first time the effects of tramadol, a powerfull analgesic, on sports performance
Tramadol is a medication that belongs to the family of opioid analgesics, which is prescribed primarily to treat severe pain, such as back pain or postoperative pain.
Although not considered a doping substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), this drug has been under the media spotlight since several cyclists and team personnel have reported its frequent use within the cycling squad to reduce pain sensation, despite its frequent side effects.
These side effects include drowsiness and reduced ability to concentrate or react to stimuli, which could be the cause of numerous falls within the cycling squad. However, these rumors are based on mere speculation, and to date there was no evidence on their effect on sports and cognitive performance.
A study carried out by the University of Granada (UGR), with the funding of the AMA and the supervision of the Spanish Agency of Medicine, has been the first scientific evidence in this regard to try to clarify all the controversy surrounding this substance.
The work is a clinical trial, where, using a double-blind procedure, the effects of tramadol were compared with those of a placebo, in the same group of participants.
The results of a first study show an increase in physical performance under the effects of tramadol, compared to those who took a placebo. However, that result is not replicated in a second experiment where participants performed the physical task along with a cognitive task. At the brain level, in the second experiment, they found an effect of tramadol related to the processing of the stimuli.
Researchers say that "the results of the study are not conclusive, so we must be very cautious when affirming that the plotter improves sports performance or that it has an effect on stimulus processing". It is the first study of its kind, so more research is needed.
Link to the publication: https://osf.io/preprints/sportrxiv/8hpxz