Brand-name Nucynta (tapentadol) is protected by a patent until June 2018. This means that generic versions of this prescription pain reliever cannot be sold until this patent expires, provided there are no other outstanding patents or unresolved lawsuits. Once this patent expires, several companies are expected to make a generic version of Nucynta.
Can I Buy Generic Nucynta?
Nucynta™ (tapentadol) is a prescription opioid analgesic. It is approved for the short-term treatment of pain. This is a relatively new medication and, therefore, is not yet available in generic form.
Nucynta is made by PriCara, a division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It is protected from generic competition by a patent that has not yet expired.
When Will Generic Nucynta Be Available?
The first patent for Nucynta currently expires in June 2018. This is the earliest predictable date that a generic version of Nucynta could become available.
However, other circumstances could come up to extend or shorten this exclusivity period. This could include such things as lawsuits or other patents for specific Nucynta uses. Once this patent expires, there may be several companies that manufacture a generic Nucynta drug.
Is Tapentadol a Generic Nucynta?
No -- tapentadol is the active ingredient in Nucynta, but is not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that oftentimes, the active ingredient of any drug is referred to as the "generic name."
The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version, the original medicine must have gone off-patent and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed November 19, 2009.
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