Nucynta (Page 4 of 7)

8.6 Renal Impairment

In patients with severe renal impairment, the safety and effectiveness of NUCYNTA® has not been established. NUCYNTA® is not recommended in this population [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)].

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

Administration of NUCYNTA® resulted in higher exposures and serum levels to tapentadol in subjects with impaired hepatic function compared to subjects with normal hepatic function [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. NUCYNTA® should be used with caution in patients with moderate hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].

NUCYNTA® has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment, therefore, use of NUCYNTA® is not recommended in this population [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)].


9.1 Controlled Substance

NUCYNTA® contains tapentadol, a mu-opioid agonist and is a Schedule II controlled substance. NUCYNTA® has an abuse potential similar to hydromorphone, can be abused and is subject to criminal diversion.

9.2 Abuse

Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. Drug addiction is a treatable disease, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, but relapse is common.

Concerns about abuse and addiction should not prevent the proper management of pain. However, all patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, because use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use.

“Drug seeking” behavior is very common in addicts, and drug abusers. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated claims of loss of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers) to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction. Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.

Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Physicians should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of mu-opioid agonists can occur in the absence of true addiction and is characterized by misuse for non-medical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances. Careful recordkeeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests is strongly advised.

Abuse of NUCYNTA® poses a risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of NUCYNTA® with alcohol and other substances. In addition, parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of drugs with mu-opioid agonist properties.

Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal symptoms [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Use of NUCYNTA® in this population has not been characterized. As NUCYNTA® has mu-opioid agonist activity, infants whose mothers have taken NUCYNTA® , should be carefully monitored.

9.3 Dependence

Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Physical dependence is manifested by withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation of a drug or upon administration of an antagonist.

The opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome is characterized by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other symptoms also may develop, including irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.

Generally, tolerance and/or withdrawal are more likely to occur the longer a patient is on continuous opioid therapy. In a safety study where drug was administered up to 90 days, 82.7% of patients taking NUCYNTA® who stopped abruptly without initiating alternative therapy and were assessed 2 to 4 days after discontinuation, did not have objective signs of opioid withdrawal using the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale. Moderate withdrawal symptoms were seen in 0.3% of patients with the rest (17%) experiencing mild symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may be reduced by tapering NUCYNTA®.


10.1 Human Experience

Experience with NUCYNTA® overdose is very limited. Preclinical data suggest that symptoms similar to those of other centrally acting analgesics with mu-opioid agonist activity are to be expected upon intoxication with tapentadol. In principle, these symptoms may particularly appear in the clinical setting: miosis, vomiting, cardiovascular collapse, consciousness disorders up to coma, convulsions and respiratory depression up to respiratory arrest.

10.2 Management of Overdose

Management of overdose should be focused on treating symptoms of mu-opioid agonism. Primary attention should be given to re-establishment of a patent airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation when overdose of NUCYNTA® is suspected. Supportive measures (including oxygen and vasopressors) should be employed in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema accompanying overdose as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias may require cardiac massage or defibrillation.

Pure opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, are specific antidotes to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. Respiratory depression following an overdose may outlast the duration of action of the opioid antagonist. Administration of an opioid antagonist is not a substitute for continuous monitoring of airway, breathing, and circulation following an opioid overdose. If the response to opioid antagonists is suboptimal or only brief in nature, an additional antagonist should be administered as directed by the manufacturer of the product.

Gastrointestinal decontamination may be considered in order to eliminate unabsorbed drug. Gastrointestinal decontamination with activated charcoal or by gastric lavage is only recommended within 2 hours after intake. Gastrointestinal decontamination at a later time point may be useful in case of intoxication with exceptionally large quantities. Before attempting gastrointestinal decontamination, care should be taken to secure the airway.


NUCYNTA® (tapentadol) Tablets are immediate-release film-coated tablets for oral administration. The chemical name is 3-[(1R ,2R)-3-(dimethylamino)-1-ethyl-2-methylpropyl]phenol monohydrochloride. The structural formula is:

image of structural formula

The molecular weight of tapentadol HCl is 257.80, and the molecular formula is C14 H23 NO•HCl. The n-octanol:water partition coefficient log P value is 2.87. The pKa values are 9.34 and 10.45. In addition to the active ingredient tapentadol HCl, tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium, povidone, magnesium stearate, and Opadry® II, a proprietary film-coating mixture containing polyvinyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol, talc, and aluminum lake coloring.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Tapentadol is a centrally-acting synthetic analgesic. Although its exact mechanism is unknown, analgesic efficacy is thought to be due to mu-opioid agonist activity and the inhibition of norepinephrine reuptake.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Tapentadol is a centrally-acting synthetic analgesic. It is 18 times less potent than morphine in binding to the human mu-opioid receptor and is 2–3 times less potent in producing analgesia in animal models. Tapentadol has been shown to inhibit norepinephrine reuptake in the brains of rats resulting in increased norepinephrine concentrations. In preclinical models, the analgesic activity due to the mu-opioid receptor agonist activity of tapentadol can be antagonized by selective mu-opioid antagonists (e.g., naloxone), whereas the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition is sensitive to norepinephrine modulators. Tapentadol exerts its analgesic effects without a pharmacologically active metabolite.

Effects on the cardiovascular system: There was no effect of therapeutic and supratherapeutic doses of tapentadol on the QT interval. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo- and positive-controlled crossover study, healthy subjects were administered five consecutive doses of NUCYNTA® 100 mg every 6 hours, NUCYNTA® 150 mg every 6 hours, placebo and a single oral dose of moxifloxacin. Similarly, NUCYNTA® had no relevant effect on other ECG parameters (heart rate, PR interval, QRS duration, T-wave or U-wave morphology).

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