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Tramadol effects on physical performance and sustained attention during a 20-min indoor cycling time-trial: A randomised controlled trial

Published:November 07, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2017.10.032

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To investigate the effect of tramadol on performance during a 20-min cycling time-trial (Experiment 1), and to test whether sustained attention would be impaired during cycling after tramadol intake (Experiment 2).

      Design

      Randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial.

      Methods

      In Experiment 1, participants completed a cycling time-trial, 120-min after they ingested either tramadol or placebo. In Experiment 2, participants performed a visual oddball task during the time-trial. Electroencephalography measures (EEG) were recorded throughout the session.

      Results

      In Experiment 1, average time-trial power output was higher in the tramadol vs. placebo condition (tramadol: 220 W vs. placebo: 209 W; p < 0.01). In Experiment 2, no differences between conditions were observed in the average power output (tramadol: 234 W vs. placebo: 230 W; p > 0.05). No behavioural differences were found between conditions in the oddball task. Crucially, the time frequency analysis in Experiment 2 revealed an overall lower target-locked power in the beta-band (p < 0.01), and higher alpha suppression (p < 0.01) in the tramadol vs. placebo condition. At baseline, EEG power spectrum was higher under tramadol than under placebo in Experiment 1 while the reverse was true for Experiment 2.

      Conclusions

      Tramadol improved cycling power output in Experiment 1, but not in Experiment 2, which may be due to the simultaneous performance of a cognitive task. Interestingly enough, the EEG data in Experiment 2 pointed to an impact of tramadol on stimulus processing related to sustained attention.

      Trial registration

      EudraCT number: 2015-005056-96.

      Keywords

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