Effects of extended abstinence on cognitive functions in Tramadol dependent patients: a cohort study
Background: Some pieces of the literature report impaired cognitive functioning in tramadol dependence. Whether extended abstinence improves cognitive functioning or not is not well studied. We aimed to measure the change in cognitive functioning following complete abstinence among individuals with tramadol dependence.
Methods: Eighty-three male tramadol-dependent (TD) and 57 matched healthy controls participated in this study. Cognitive functions were assessed using: The Trail making test (TMT), Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (WMS-R), and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). Patients were assessed in the first week immediately after the end of the in-patient treatment program (T1), and after six months of sustained abstinence (T2).
Results: At T1, the TD group showed deficits on all tested cognitive parameters (visual attention, task switching, working memory, visual memory, verbal memory, verbal knowledge, Verbal IQ, Performance IQ, and Full-Scale IQ) in comparison to the control group. At T2, significant improvements had occurred in all the tested parameters except performance IQ. The cognitive performance of the abstinent individuals at T2 was comparable to the control group for the verbal subsets of WMS-R, Verbal IQ, Performance IQ, and Full-Scale IQ. Nevertheless, it was still worse than the control group in TMT, and all other WMS subsets.
Conclusion: tramadol dependence has negative effects on cognitive performance, which improves with extended abstinence.