Pain Home > What Is Tapentadol ER Used For?

Moderate-to-severe pain can often be relieved by taking tapentadol ER. This prescription medication is also approved to treat nerve pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Tapentadol ER works in a similar manner as morphine by affecting the central nervous system; it also affects certain brain chemicals. It is a narcotic opioid medicine and does have significant potential for abuse.

An Overview of Tapentadol ER Uses

Tapentadol ER (Nucynta® ER) is a prescription medication approved for treating the following types of pain:
  • Moderate-to-severe chronic pain
  • Nerve pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
It is appropriate only when continuous, around-the-clock pain treatment is necessary. It is a strong, long-acting narcotic painkiller that should not be used to treat mild or short-term pain.
Tapentadol ER is meant to be used around-the-clock at scheduled times twice a day. It is not approved for "as-needed" use (unscheduled use only when needed). This medicine is not appropriate for treating pain after a surgery, unless you were already taking tapentadol ER before the surgery or if your pain is expected to be moderate to severe and long-lasting.
The short-acting version of the medication (tapentadol) is a more appropriate option for acute (short-term) pain, such as surgical pain, dental pain after a painful procedure, sports injury pain, or various other types of acute pain.
In general, most people who take tapentadol ER switch from other narcotic pain medications. Often, people need to take short-acting "rescue" painkillers in addition to tapentadol ER for "breakthrough" pain. Importantly, short-acting tapentadol or any medication that contains tramadol (such as Rybix™ ODT, Ryzolt®, Ultram®, Ultram® ER, or Ultracet®) should not be used in combination with tapentadol ER. A different type of medication that does not contain tapentadol or tramadol should be used for breakthrough pain.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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