Tapentadol is a medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a centrally acting oral opioid analgesic that is similar to tramadol, but with stronger effects. Tapentadol works by blocking pain signals to the brain from being received and decreasing the amount of pain felt. It is typically used for post-operative pain, cancer-related pain, chronic pain, and other painful conditions. Tapentadol can also be used with other medications to treat opioid-induced constipation.
Tapentadol oral solution and tablets are used to treat pain severe enough to require opioid treatment and when other pain medicines do not work well or are not tolerated. Extended-release tablets are used to treat severe pain, including pain caused by nerve damage in diabetes. It should not be used for occasional or "as needed" pain. Tapentadol belongs to a group of drugs called narcotic analgesics (pain relievers) that act on the central nervous system to relieve pain.
Long-term use of tapentadol can become habit-forming, mentally or physically addictive. However, people in constant pain should not refuse to use pain relievers for fear of addiction. When drugs are used for this purpose, psychological dependence (addiction) is unlikely to occur. Physical dependence can lead to withdrawal symptoms if treatment is stopped suddenly. However, severe withdrawal symptoms can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a period of time until treatment is stopped completely.
How to use
Tapentadol is typically taken orally as a pill or tablet. The medication should be taken every 4-6 hours, around the clock, as needed for pain relief. It is important to take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more than prescribed or shorter than prescribed because this could result in side effects. It is best to take Tapentadol with food or milk to reduce the risk of stomach upset.
The most common side effects of tapentadol include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, constipation, dry mouth, and fatigue. Less common side effects can include itching, rash, abdominal pain, and difficulty sleeping. People taking tapentadol may also experience a decrease in appetite, blurred vision, and increased sweating. Serious side effects can occur, such as severe allergic reactions, severe dizziness, and seizures. If any side effects occur, it is important to contact a doctor immediately.
Warnings & Precautions
Tapentadol may cause serious and possibly life-threatening breathing problems. Monitor for symptoms of serious respiratory problems, including chest pain and difficulty breathing. Avoid use of Tapentadol if respiratory depression and other dangerous side effects occur. Other serious side effects may include seizures, low blood pressure, serotonin syndrome, and dependence. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Tapentadol. Elderly and debilitated patients may be more sensitive to the effects of opioids and may have increased risk of developing serious side effects. Taking alcohol or other sedative drugs while on Tapentadol can cause life-threatening respiratory depression.
Tapentadol should be stored in a cool, dry place. Temperature should be kept between 15°C and 30°C and out of direct sunlight. The medication should be kept in its original container and tightly closed, away from children and pets. Do not mix with other drugs or food, and never share tapentadol with others. Be sure to discard any expired tapentadol.
Tapentadol may interact with other drugs like sedatives, muscle relaxants, seizure medications, and MAO inhibitors, which can increase the side effects or make the medications less effective. It should not be taken with alcohol or other drugs that can cause drowsiness, and should not be used with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or within 14 days of stopping or starting an MAOI. In addition, it has been shown to increase the effects of opioid drugs like morphine and oxycodone.
Seek medical attention immediately if you or somebody you know has taken an overdose of tapentadol. Tapentadol overdose can be fatal and requires urgent medical attention. Symptoms of tapentadol overdose include confusion, loss of consciousness, depression, slowed heart rate, seizures, coma, and death. If you suspect an overdose, call Poison Control at 800-222-1222 immediately.
Tapentadol is effective against both acute and chronic pain and provides relief far superior to other medications, such as opioids. It has few side effects and is not addictive, making it the ideal choice for treating many types of pain. It is generally well-tolerated, has a fast onset of action, and provides long-lasting relief. Tapentadol is a powerful opioid and may pose a risk for physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction if taken for an extended period. Tapentadol is available in both immediate release and extended release forms, allowing for flexible dosing to best meet an individual's needs.