How does it work? Tramadol is marketed as a racemic mixture of both R and S stereoisomers. It is a μ-opioid receptor agonist, like morphine, but much less active. It inhibits reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, suggesting that it lifts mood and thereby may dull the brain's perception of pain.
“ When I crashed and broke ribs on the second day of the Tour de France, I took tramadol to alleviate the pain. I could push harder than normal. The drug made me feel slightly euphoric. It made my legs feel painless. ”. It was as performance enhancing as any banned drug I had taken, but with a major difference: it was legal.
In his new autobiography, the former professional cyclist Michael Barry has claimed that before his retirement in 2012 he used tramadol – which is a legal medication – while cycling in the Sky team. Thomas said:. Some people have referred to its use in “finish bottles” containing a mixture of a painkiller like tramadol and a stimulant like caffeine. It could help a cyclist cope with a “pain barrier” and so improve performance slightly, maybe enough to create an “edge”.
Also available: HTML version.
No, it’s a strong painkiller.
Simon Cotton University of Birmingham.