Published on 23 August 2022

Tapentadol (Nucynta) Addiction, Abuse, And Treatment

Tapentadol tapentadol-nucynta-addiction-abuse-and-treatment
Table of Contents

People from all diversities can experience problems with drug usage, regardless of race, background, age, or the reason they started using the drug in the first place. Some people experiment with recreational drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, or to ease issues such as stress, depression, or Anxiety.

Prescription medications such as sedatives, painkillers, and tranquilizers can cause similar problems. Nearly 25% of people who have prescription painkillers like Tapentadol for chronic conditions misuse them. Around 30% of overdoses are observed between July 2016 and September 2017.

What Is Tapentadol?

Tapentadol is used in treating conditions such as treating difficult pain-like situations. This medication is used primarily when no other pain medications work for treatment. Extended-release tablets would work more on severe pain conditions.

Tapentadol may become habit-forming, especially with prolonged use. Your doctor will probably start with you a low dose of Tapentadol and gradually increase the dosing until your pain is under control. You might get the medicine under its brand name Nucynta.

How Does Tapentadol Work?

Medications work differently as per the drug class it belongs to. When it comes to Tapentadol belongs to the drug class of Narcotic analgesics; whichever medicines belong to this drug class work the same.

Tapentadol is a controlled substance that works on the central nervous system. Once the consumption of medicine is done, your pain will be reduced. Components in medicine give a signal to the brain by the nerves in the body. The action of the drug interrupts the pain and gives you a calming sensation to heal the pain.

Drug Addiction And Abuse

Drug addiction and Abuse are called 'drug use disorder' and are less about the amount or type of substance consumed or the frequency of drug use and more about the consequences of using that drug.

Drug Abuse and drug addiction are closely-related terms and are used interchangeably, but there are critical distinctions between them.

Drug Abuse or substance Abuse includes overusing a drug or using that drug differently than its intended use. For example, if a person takes any analgesic more frequently or in higher doses than prescribed, this is a sign of drug Abuse.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Tapentadol

Nucynta ER should not be discontinued abruptly when a person is physically dependent on opioids.

Its dosage should be gradually tapered when discontinuing NUCYNTA ER in a physically dependent patient. Rapid dose tapering in a patient physically dependent on opioids may lead to a withdrawal syndrome and return of pain.

Withdrawal symptoms include-

  • Fever or chills
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Runny nose

Dosage That Should Be Taken To Avoid Addiction

The concerned healthcare practitioner shall gradually increase the dose as per the requirement. Any dose other than the prescribed dose of Tapentadol may lead to addiction or abuse.

  • The initial dose for Tapentadol is 50mg twice daily (i.e., every 12 hrs).
  • The maximum dose should not be more than 500mg a day.

Does Abuse and Misuse of Tapentadol have side effects?

Administration of any medication risks Abuse and misuse, even if the prescription is followed adequately. The risk of taking Tapentadol increases if a person is allergic to this drug when a person consumes alcohol during treatment, or if Tapentadol is taken in addition to other medications.

Possible Side Effects

The number and intensity of side effects also depend on the dose, frequency, medical history, and manner of taking the drug. Tapentadol may cause severe or life-threatening breathing disorders, especially during the initial 24-72 hours of the treatment. The doctor will gradually alter your dose to control your pain and decrease the risk that you will experience serious breathing problems.

Common Side Effects Severe Side Effects
Headache Seizures
Stomach pain Serotonin syndrome
Heartburn Itching
Dry mouth Loss of appetite
Drowsiness Chest pain
Difficulty sleeping Severe breathing problem
Tiredness Decreased sexual desire

Precautions To Be Taken While Using Tapentadol

Precautions are steps that you need to take to prevent something from happening when using these medications. It will help you know what care to take before you have it.

Basic Precautions of Tapentadol (Nucynta) You Should Follow:

Before taking Tapentadol, tell your doctor or pharmacist about allergies.
Inform your doctor of your medical history if you have had the following:

  • breathing problem, sleep apnea, head injury, brain tumor, or seizures
  • alcoholism or drug addiction, mental illness
  • problems urinating
  • liver or kidney disease
  • problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, thyroid, or adrenal glands
  • Avoid dosing errors that can result from confusion. Pay attention to accuracy when prescribing, dispensing, and administering NUCYNTA.
  • If you miss a dose, do not take two doses to make it up. If you are unsure what to do if you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
  • Do not drive a vehicle, operate machinery, or do anything that requires mental alertness until you can do it safely.
  • The use of alcohol and Tapentadol at the same time can cause serious effects, including death.
  • Patients with moderate hepatic impairment should use Tapentadol with caution.
  • Don't stop taking this medication suddenly without first talking to your doctor.
  • Each time you need more NUCYNTA, get your prescription refilled.

Warnings Of Tapentadol

Warnings about Tapentadol indicate possible rare but dangerous side effects or provide information on the safe use of the drug.

  • This medication carries a high potential for abuse, dependence, and misuse.
  • Make sure you keep Nucynta (Tapentadol) in a safe place away from children and others. Accidental exposure to even one dose can lead to a fatal overdose in children.
  • Using the medication during pregnancy should be limited to cases in which it is necessary. After birth, it can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the child.
  • Ask a doctor before taking opioids if you are breastfeeding. If you notice severe drowsiness or slowed breathing in a nursing child, notify your doctor.
  • Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants may result in sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.
  • Inform your doctor if you experience signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.
  • Do not take Tapentadol if you have taken an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. A serious drug interaction could occur.
  • Instruct patients not to consume alcoholic beverages or preparations containing alcohol, other opioids, or drugs during treatment with NUCYNTA.

Drug Interaction

The interaction of drugs may change how a drug works, or it may increase the risk of severe side effects. It is recommended to start, stop or alter any medicine only after consultation with the doctor.

There is a list of drugs that interact with Tapentadol, including-

  • Mixed opioid agonist-antagonist such as nalbuphine, butorphanol, pentazocine
  • MAO inhibitors (linezolid, isocarboxazid, procarbazine, metaxalone, safinamide, tranylcypromine); might cause
  • serious side effects or may be fatal
  • Some antidepressants (SNRIs such as duloxetine and SSRIs such as fluoxetine) might increase serotonin toxicity.
  • Using tobacco and alcohol while on this drug may cause a severe adverse reaction.
  • Antihistamines (such as loratadine, cetirizine, diphenhydramine, and doxylamine)
  • Anti-psychotics (such as clozapine, risperidone, chlorpromazine, and haloperidol)
  • Anti-emetics (such as ondansetron, granisetron)
  • Muscle relaxants (such as orphenadrine, cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol)
  • Amphetamines (e.g., lisdexamfetamine, dexamphetamine)
  • Benzodiazepines (such as diazepam, alprazolam, Lorazepam)
  • Barbiturates (such as phenobarbital, butabarbital)
  • Miscellaneous drugs (e.g., Samidorphan, naltrexone, gabapentin, lithium, tryptophan, zolpidem, tramadol, topiramate,
  • buprenorphine, phenytoin, paraldehyde)

Do Any Foods Interact with Tapentadol?

Tapentadol can be taken both ways- with or without food and should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Fare does not affect the working of Tapentadol. If a person has an upset stomach after taking Tapentadol, in that case, food will help.

There is no interaction of this drug with any food except with the consumption of alcohol, as the latter can increase the side effects on the nervous system, including drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty in concentration.

These reactions may vary with individuals. Some people might also experience impairment in judgment and thinking. It is advised to consult the healthcare professional in case of further queries or concerns.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Many people are uncertain about how or why people get addicted to drugs. They believe those who lack willpower and principles could stop their drug use by choosing to.

Tapentadol (Nucynta) is an opioid analgesic that should only be used for moderate to severe acute or chronic pain that has failed to respond well to other non-opioid pain medications. Since it is a strong pain medication, there is a high risk of addiction, misuse, and abuse.

The central feature of drug addiction is substance use that is uncontrollable and difficult to stop, even with adverse consequences. Take Tapentadol only as directed; patients should notify their doctor if they experience breakthrough pain or other adverse effects while on the medication. Ask your doctor about the risks of taking Tapentadol and stop taking it only after consulting with him.

  • Ray A, Arya S, Gupta R. Tapentadol-induced seizure in a patient with opioid dependence. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2022;24(3):21cr03023. Obtain On 14/11/2022
  • Schrder, W., et al. "Synergistic interaction between the two mechanisms of action of tapentadol in analgesia."Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 337.1 (2011): 312-320. Obtain On 14/11/2022
  • Borys, Douglas, et al. "Tapentadol toxicity in children."Pediatrics 135.2 (2015): e392-e396. Obtain On 14/11/2022
  • Schrder, W., et al. "Synergistic interaction between the two mechanisms of action of tapentadol in analgesia."Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 337.1 (2011): 312-320. Obtain On 14/11/2022
  • Kneip, Christa, et al. "Investigations into the drug-drug interaction potential of tapentadol in human liver microsomes and fresh human hepatocytes."Drug Metabolism Letters 2.1 (2008): 67-75. DOI: Obtain On 14/11/2022