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What Is Pentazocine Used For?

Pentazocine is prescribed to relieve moderate-to-severe pain. It is also approved for use before surgery or anesthesia. This drug works by binding to certain receptors in the body and mimicking the action of naturally occurring chemicals that block pain. Pentazocine may also be used off-label to treat pain after surgery in children younger than 16 years old.


An Overview of Uses for Pentazocine

Pentazocine lactate (Talwin®) is an injectable prescription medication approved for the following uses:
  • To treat moderate-to-severe pain
  • For use before surgery or anesthesia (medication that puts you to sleep during surgery)
  • As a supplement to anesthesia for surgery.
Pentazocine is an opioid pain medication. According to the manufacturer, 30 mg would usually provide equal pain relief as 10 mg of morphine or 75 mg to 100 mg of meperidone (Demerol®). Pain relief normally begins within 15 to 20 minutes after a dose is given as an injection into a muscle (an intramuscular, or IM, injection) or beneath the skin (subcutaneous, or SC, injection), and within 2 to 3 minutes after given as an injection into a vein (an intravenous, or IV, injection).
As an opioid medication, pentazocine is a potent pain reliever that can help relieve moderate-to-severe pain resulting from a variety of causes. It is sometimes given to help reduce the pain associated with labor. In such cases, its use is normally limited to one to three doses. Pentazocine also causes sedation and may be used for its sedating properties before surgery or before anesthesia.
Pentazocine is also an active ingredient in Talwin® Nx (pentazocine/naloxone) and Talacen® (acetaminophen and pentazocine). Talwin Nx comes in the form of a tablet and contains naloxone to help deter the misuse of the medication via injection. Talacen is also a tablet form of pentazocine. It contains acetaminophen for added pain relief.
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Pentazocine Drug Information

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