Is Tramadol a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug?

1 Answer
Feb 12, 2016

No, tramadol is an opioid analgesic .


The nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) mitigate inflammation, fever and pain by blocking enzyme COX (cyclo-oxygenase). This enzyme is vital for the production of prostaglandin.

Prostaglandin is a chemical mediator which produces inflammation, pain and fever. The NSAIDs block the COX enzyme as a result no Prostaglandin is produced. No prostaglandin means no pain. Example of NSAIDs : aspirin, ibuprofen, ketorolac, naproxen etc.

Following is a diagram showing the mechanism of action of NSAIDs :

Tramadol, on the other hand, is an opioid analgesic. It is a centrally acting drug, unlike NSAIDs. Tramadol mitigate pain by acting on opioid receptors and on brain. It has no effect on COX enzyme, so it is not an anti-inflammatory drug.

Following diagram shows the mechanism of action of opioid analgesics (Tramadol) :