Precautions and Warnings With Tapentadol

People with severe asthma or bowel obstructions should not take tapentadol. There are a number of other precautions and warnings to be aware of before taking this drug. For example, tapentadol can cause slow and irregular breathing (especially at high doses), increase your risk of falls, and interfere with the diagnosis of many conditions that cause severe stomach pain.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking tapentadol (Nucynta™), talk to your healthcare provider if you have:
  • A history of drug or alcohol dependence
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatitis
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Gallbladder or pancreas disease
  • Lung disease of any sort
  • A head injury or high intracranial pressure
  • Severe abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions With Tapentadol

Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking tapentadol include the following:
  • Tapentadol is a narcotic medication with significant potential for abuse. It is not a good choice for people who have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Do not take the drug more frequently, longer, or at a higher dose than prescribed. If you feel you may be developing a problem with tapentadol, please seek help from your healthcare provider.
  • Like any other narcotic, tapentadol can cause dizziness and drowsiness, and may increase the risk of falls, particularly in elderly people.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Your reflexes and reaction times may be significantly affected, even if you feel fine.
  • Tapentadol can cause slow and irregular breathing, especially at high doses. In severe situations, this may be life-threatening and may be especially dangerous in people with lung problems.
  • This medication can cause problems in people with head injuries or high intracranial pressure. It should only be used with extreme caution in such circumstances.
  • Tapentadol can interfere with the diagnosis of many conditions that cause severe abdominal (stomach) pain.
  • In general, this medicine is not recommended for people with seizure disorders.
  • Tapentadol can cause a dangerous group of symptoms known as serotonin syndrome. This problem is more common when tapentadol is combined with antidepressants or other medications that affect serotonin (see Drug Interactions With Tapentadol). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of serotonin syndrome, such as:
    • Confusion or other mental changes
    • A rapid heart rate
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Hallucinations
    • Blood pressure changes
    • Overactive reflexes
    • Fever
    • Shivering
    • Shakiness
    • Agitation
    • Sweating
    • Seizures
    • Coma.
  • Tapentadol can potentially interact with several other medications (see Drug Interactions With Tapentadol).
  • Tapentadol is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Nucynta and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if tapentadol passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Nucynta and Breastfeeding).
Alternative Therapies for Pain Management

Tapentadol Drug Information

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