What is Tapentadol? London Pain Clinic
What Is Nucynta (Tapentadol)?
Nucynta is the brand name for tapentadol, a prescription painkiller used to treat both acute and chronic pain, including lower back pain. It is also used for controlling diabetic neuropathy pain as needed.
Nucynta is an opioid (or narcotic) pain medication that works by changing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Developed by Grunenthal in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Nucynta was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2008. It is the first new pain killer of its type approved in the United States in more than 25 years.
It's important to know that Nucynta is habit forming. Misuse can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Nucynta should only be taken exactly as prescribed. Nucynta should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol, or illicit drugs.
Seek emergency medical attention if you have trouble breathing, feel faint, dizzy, confused, or have a seizure or hallucinations. Improper use can result in central nervous system depression, hypotension, respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
Nucynta should be avoided by pregnant and nursing mothers, because of the danger posed to the fetus or breastfeeding infant.
It's important to discuss with your doctor the potential for Nucynta to cause physical dependence, and whether you are at risk of abuse or addiction based on previous drug use, or a family history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Elderly patients may have a lower tolerance for Nucynta, and should be monitored. Respiratory depression may result in patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Nucynta may result in severe hypotension (low blood pressure), and should be avoided in patients with circulatory shock. Nucynta may also aggravate seizures.
Nucynta Side Effects
Less serious side effects include:
More serious side effects may demand immediate emergency medical attention and include:
- Convulsions or seizures
- Weak pulse
- Slow heartbeat
- Weak breathing
- Severe dizziness or drowsiness
- Fast heart rate
- Problems with balance
- Trouble with speech
Sedation, coma, hypotension, respiratory depression,, and death may result from using Nucynta in combination with alcohol and other depressants (sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizes) and other opioids.
Alcohol and other depressants should be avoided when using Nucynta.
Nucynta is available in immediate release tablets of: 50 milligrams (mg), 75 mg, and 100 mg, taken every four to six hours to control pain, with a maximum dose of 600 mg per 24 hours. (700 mg for day one).
It is also available in extended-release tablets in 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, and 250 mg. Extended use tablets are dosed every 12 hours and should not be crushed to maximize dosage, as this could lead to fast absorption, which can result in ingestion of toxic levels.
The prescribing physician should frequently re-evaluate the dosage and lower it as pain decreases.
Call 911 or the poison help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose can be fatal, especially to someone using the medicine without a prescription, or a child.
Symptoms of an overdose include:
- Slow heart rate
- Slow breathing
- Severe drowsiness
- Pin-point pupils
Missed Dose of Nucynta
Patients experiencing pain seldom miss a dose. However, if a dose is missed, take the medication as soon as possible, or wait until the next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine.
By Don Wall | Medically Reviewed by Ruthan White, PharmD
Latest Update: 2014-10-27
Copyright © 2014 Everyday Health Media, LLC
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