Published on 30 August 2022

Can Tapentadol Cause Nausea?

Tapentadol tapentadol-cause-nausea
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Nausea and vomiting are not ailments but symptoms of different conditions that can occur in adults and children. The cause of their occurrence depends on various factors. People undergoing cancer treatments have a greater risk of nausea and vomiting.

Pregnant women may also experience nausea and vomiting in their first trimester. Approximately 50 to 90% of pregnant women experience nausea, while 25 to 55% experience vomiting. Nausea is a commonly reported symptom with a point prevalence of nearly 12% in the community.

The incidence of nausea and vomiting has been reported to be as high as 70% for some drug therapies. Tapentadol is an opioid analgesic used for managing moderate-to-severe pain. Do you feel nauseated after taking this drug? Let us find out in this blog.

What Is Tapentadol?

Tapentadol, marked under the brand name, Nucynta, is a centrally-acting opioid analgesic used for moderate to severe pain in adults. Like tramadol, it acts by activating mu-opioid receptors and inhibiting norepinephrine reuptake. 

Physicians prescribe Tapentadol for moderate to severe pain when other treatment options have failed to provide adequate management.

What Is Nausea?

Nausea is the unpleasant sensation that often accompanies the urge to vomit. Most people experience it at some stage, but when these symptoms occur frequently, they can reduce the quality of life. Saliva (spit), dizziness, lightheadedness, trouble swallowing, skin temperature changes, and a fast heart rate can often happen with nausea.

Tapentadol's most frequent side effects are gastrointestinal and central, with nausea (30%) being the most prevalent, followed by vomiting (18%), dizziness (24%), and sleepiness (15%). 

Does Tapentadol Cause Nausea?

Nausea and vomiting are symptoms of various conditions, including early pregnancy, concussions, stomach flu. and more. These symptoms can occur in both children and adults.

Nausea is the most common adverse effect associated with Tapentadol. The frequency, intensity, or tolerance development for nausea may vary among patients.

Although the exact mechanisms of Tapentadol-induced nausea are not fully understood, a predominant mechanism likely involves opioid-induced stimulation of the mu-opioid receptor (MOR). 

Frequently Asked Questions

The analgesic effect of Tapentadol is observed in nearly 30 minutes of administration. This medicine stays in your system for about 22 hours, depending on several factors.
Since Tapentadol is a CNS depressant, it can slow down an individual's heart rate and breathing. A potential Tapentadol overdose's symptoms are extreme drowsiness, blurred vision, sweating, confusion, clammy skin, muscle weakness, and slowed breathing.
The serum concentrations peak at 1.25 hours after a single oral dose of Tapentadol immediate-release.

What Causes Nausea?

The causes and investigation plan for nausea and vomiting depend on whether the symptoms are acute or chronic. Chronic symptoms last for one month or longer.

The most common causes of acute nausea or vomiting are viral gastroenteritis or bacterial food poisoning. Toxin-mediated vomiting occurs 1-6 hours after ingesting the food of concern. 

Common Causes

  • Gastroenteritis 
  • Non-gastrointestinal infections (e.g., UTI in elderly/institutionalized patients)
  • Medications
  • Surgical causes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cholecystitis
  •  Appendicitis
  •  Small bowel obstruction
  •  Diabetic ketoacidosis
  •  Addisonian crisis
  •  Raised intracranial pressure
  •  Hepatitis
  •  Ingestion of irritants or allergens 

Monitor for medication side effects if there is any recent commencement or change in the dose.

Medications That Cause Nausea And Vomiting

  •  Cancer chemotherapy 
  •  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  •  Digoxin
  •  Antiarrhythmics
  •  Oral antidiabetics (especially Metformin)
  •  Antibiotics
  •  Sulfasalazine
  •  Nicotine patches
  •  Narcotics
  •  Antiparkinsonian drugs
  •  Anticonvulsants (including at therapeutic doses)
  •  High-dose vitamins

Dosages Of Tapentadol

Start taking Tapentadol IR only after under the direct supervision of your doctor. Tapentadol is available as immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (ER) tablets.
Tapentadol is in tablet forms of 50 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg. 

Take the tablet with or without food every 4 to 6 hours. Administer the second dose as early as one hour after the first dose in case of inadequate pain relief. Take not more Tapentadol than prescribed as it can cause serious side effects such as seizures or respiratory depression.

How Much To Take?

Tapentadol is available in different strengths, i.e., 50 mg (immediate and extended-release); 75 mg; 100 mg (immediate and extended-release); 150 mg; 200 mg, and 250 mg.
Use its lowest effective dose for the shortest duration, consistent with the patient's treatment goals.

1. Immediate-Release Tablets:

  • Initial dose: 50 to 100mg orally every 4 to 6 hours as required. Its second dose shall be administered as soon as 1 hr after taking the first dose.
  • Subsequent dosing: 50mg, 75mg, or 100mg orally every 4 to 6 hours; 
  • Maximum dose: 700mg on the first day of dosing, then 600 mg/day on the subsequent days

2. Extended-Release Tablets:

  • Initial dose: 50mg orally twice a day. The dose should not exceed 50mg twice a day every 3 days.
  • Maximum dose: 500 mg/day
  • Maintenance dose: 100mg to 250mg orally twice a day

How To Manage Nausea When Using Tapentadol?

  • Follow the physician's instructions clearly when taking Tapentadol. Take the medication with food if you have nausea. If nausea persists, talk with your doctor or pharmacist (such as lying down for a few hours with a bit of head).
  • Usually, no specific follow-up is required for a self-limiting episode of nausea or vomiting unless there are public health issues.
  • Initiate rehydration with oral fluids with oral or intramuscular antiemetic therapy.
  • Avoid or discontinue any medications that may cause or exacerbate nausea and vomiting (in consultation with your physician and pharmacist).
  • Instruct the patient to initiate or continue medications according to the instructions.
  • Allow 30-60 minutes post-antiemetic before eating.
    In the case of outpatient intolerance, start administering IV fluids and parenteral antiemetic treatment (IV or IM).
  • Antiemetic choices include.

Other Side Effects Of Tapentadol  

Common Side Effects

RareAdverse Side Effects


Memory Impairment

Stomach pain

Balance disorder

Dry mouth







Panic attack


Suicidal ideation


Respiratory depression


Sexual dysfunction

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Nausea is a feeling of discomfort in the stomach that usually accompanies the urge to vomit. However, the causes of nausea and vomiting are similar; the timing of their occurrence can indicate their cause. Any individual who experiences nausea should consult a medical practitioner if it lasts more than one week.

Tapentadol frequently causes nausea and vomiting. If you experience any symptoms that might be due to the administration of Tapentadol, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for further advice. Do not discontinue the medication suddenly without consultation.