Pain is a health issue affecting all populations, regardless of age, gender, economic status, race, or geography. Acute pain is the most common type of pain, with a complex aetiology. Inadequately managed acute pain adversely affects quality of life and imposes significant economic burden. The majority of the available pain-relieving drugs have monomodal mechanisms of analgesia, which necessitates combining drugs with non-redundant mechanisms of action in order to provide adequate pain relief and reduce the side effects from higher doses of individual drugs. In this regard, combining an oral opioid (such as codeine or tramadol) and a non-opioid (such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) offers a plausible option. Tramadol/diclofenac fixed-dose combination (FDC) is one such analgesic combination which has demonstrated promising clinical activity via its multimodal mechanisms of action. This review seeks to provide an up-to-date narrative on the current scientific literature regarding the pharmacological properties, clinical efficacy, and tolerability of tramadol/diclofenac FDC in the treatment of acute severe pain. A comprehensive, qualitative review of the literature was conducted using a structured search strategy in Medline/PubMed and additional Internet-based sources to identify relevant studies. Based on the available scientific literature, evidence of the efficacy and safety of tramadol/diclofenac FDC for treatment of patients with acute severe pain, including musculoskeletal pain, postoperative pain, and acute flare-up of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, appears to be substantial. Although additional comparative studies would be required to definitively position tramadol/diclofenac FDC with respect to other analgesic combinations, the available data suggest that tramadol/diclofenac FDC is a valuable treatment option for patients with acute severe pain.
Keywords: Acute pain; Analgesia; Codeine; Diclofenac; Musculoskeletal pain; Pain management; Tramadol.