Pain Home > Nucynta Uses

Nucynta is licensed for the treatment of short-term pain, such as pain caused by an injury or surgery. This drug has not been adequately studied in children, so it is approved only for people who are at least 18 years old. "Off-label" uses of Nucynta include the treatment of cancer pain, fibromyalgia pain, or other forms of chronic pain.

What Is Nucynta Used For?

Nucynta™ (tapentadol) is a prescription analgesic (pain reliever). It is approved to treat moderate-to-severe acute pain. Acute pain is short-term pain caused by damage to tissues. It can be caused by a surgery, an illness, or an injury. It starts suddenly and goes away once the damage heals.
Nucynta might be used to treat surgical pain, dental pain after a painful procedure, sports injury pain, or various other types of acute pain.

How Does Nucynta Work?

Nucynta is classified as a "centrally acting opioid analgesic." This means that it works in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), acts much like morphine in the body, and relieves pain. Much like morphine, Nucynta binds to certain opioid receptors in the body known as μ ("mu") receptors.
This drug also works a little like some antidepressant medications by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is one of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another. As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release norepinephrine. The norepinephrine enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it.
When enough norepinephrine reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any norepinephrine that remains in the gap between cells; this is called "reuptake." By inhibiting reuptake of norepinephrine, Nucynta essentially increases its activity.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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