Tramadol amendments: CSHP advocacy at work

April 07, 2022

CSHP is honoured to advocate for federal policies that support safe and effective medication use. Recently, we saw the impact of CSHP’s commentary on the reclassification of tramadol, an opioid analgesic, as a controlled substance.   

In 2019, Health Canada consulted CSHP along with other stakeholders and experts regarding proposals to remove tramadol from the Prescription Drug List. CSHP advocated in support of these amendments, stating that they would “strengthen pharmacovigilance of tramadol” and “strengthen the controls to prevent and detect diversion activities.”  Although tramadol can provide effective pain relief for some patients, it is suspected to have contributed to 18 reported deaths in Canada between 2006 and 2017. CSHP therefore supported changes that would help reduce problematic substance use and heighten regulation of this drug.  

In 2021 Health Canada removed tramadol from the Prescription Drug List and listed it as a controlled substance and narcotic in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Narcotic Control Regulations. These changes came into effect on March 31, 2022. CSHP is proud to have participated in efforts to protect access to tramadol for patients who need it, while helping reduce harm from problematic substance use.