Pain management and safe use of analgesics is an important medical issue. Tramadol is an old analgesic with controversial properties. Evaluation of worldwide scientific output on tramadol has not been explored. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to give a bibliometric overview of global research productivity on tramadol.
SciVerse Scopus was used to retrieve and quantitatively and qualitatively analyze worldwide publications on tramadol.
A total of 2059 original and review research articles on tramadol were retrieved from Scopus. Forty-six documents (2.23 %) were published in Anesthesia and Analgesia Journal whereas 30 (1.46 %) were published in Arzneimittel Forschung Drug Research Journal. Retrieved tramadol documents were published from 71 countries and appeared in 160 peer reviewed journals. Although the United States of America (259; 12.86 %) had the largest contribution to tramadol publications; the contribution by other countries like Turkey (232; 11.27) India (189; 8.09 %) and Germany (176; 8.56 % was not far away from that of USA. The most productive institution was Grunenthal, Germany (47; 2.28 %) followed by Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran (29; 1.41 %), and, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Incorporated, USA (25; 1.21 %). Of the 2059 documents, there were 370 documents about dependence. The leading institution in documents pertaining to tramadol dependence was Grunenthal GmbH (18; 4.86 %) followed by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Incorporated (17; 4.59 %).
The current study showed that there is an obvious interest in tramadol research. More efforts are needed to clarify the abuse potential and safety profile of tramadol to help in determining the legal status of tramadol. Collaboration among pharmaceutical industry, clinical researchers and academic institutions can improve research quantity and quality on tramadol.