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Nucynta Dosage

Dosage form: tablet, film coated
Drug class: Opioids (narcotic analgesics)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 17, 2023.

Important Dosage and Administration Instructions

  • NUCYNTA tablets should be prescribed only by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable about the use of opioids and how to mitigate the associated risks.
  • Use the lowest effective dosage for the shortest duration of time consistent with individual patient treatment goals [see Warnings and Precautions (5)]. Because the risk of overdose increases as opioid doses increase, reserve titration to higher doses of NUCYNTA tablets for patients in whom lower doses are insufficiently effective and in whom the expected benefits of using a higher dose opioid clearly outweigh the substantial risks.
  • Many acute pain conditions (e.g., the pain that occurs with a number of surgical procedures or acute musculoskeletal injuries) require no more than a few days of an opioid analgesic. Clinical guidelines on opioid prescribing for some acute pain conditions are available.
  • There is variability in the opioid analgesic dose and duration needed to adequately manage pain due both to the cause of pain and to individual patient factors. Initiate the dosing regimen for each patient individually, taking into account the patient's underlying cause and severity of pain, prior analgesic treatment and response, and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
  • Respiratory depression can occur at any time during opioid therapy, especially when initiating and following dosage increases with NUCYNTA tablets. Consider this risk when selecting an initial dose and when making dose adjustments [see Warnings and Precautions (5)].
  • Nucynta tablets can be taken with or without food. [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]

Patient Access to Naloxone for the Emergency Treatment of Opioid Overdose

Discuss the availability of naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose with the patient and caregiver and assess the potential need for access to naloxone, both when initiating and renewing treatment with NUCYNTA tablets [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

Inform patients and caregivers about the various ways to obtain naloxone as permitted by individual state naloxone dispensing and prescribing requirements or guidelines (e.g., by prescription, directly from a pharmacist, or as part of a community-based program).

Consider prescribing naloxone, based on the patient's risk factors for overdose, such as concomitant use of CNS depressants, a history of opioid use disorder, or prior opioid overdose. The presence of risk factors for overdose should not prevent the proper management of pain in any given patient [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.2, 5.3)].

Consider prescribing naloxone if the patient has household members (including children) or other close contacts at risk for accidental ingestion or overdose.

Initial Dosage in Adults

Initiating Treatment with NUCYNTA Tablets

Initiate treatment with NUCYNTA tablets in a dosing range of 50 mg to 100 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain, and at the lowest dose necessary to achieve adequate pain relief. Titrate the dose based upon the individual patient's response to their initial dose of NUCYNTA tablets.

On the first day of dosing, the second dose may be administered as soon as one hour after the first dose, if adequate pain relief is not attained with the first dose. Subsequent dosing is 50 mg, 75 mg, or 100 mg every 4 to 6 hours and should be adjusted to maintain adequate analgesia with acceptable tolerability.

Daily doses greater than 700 mg on the first day of therapy and 600 mg on subsequent days have not been studied and are not recommended.

NUCYNTA tablets may be given with or without food [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Conversion from NUCYNTA Tablets to NUCYNTA ER

Patients can be converted from NUCYNTA tablets to NUCYNTA ER using the equivalent total daily dose of NUCYNTA tablets and dividing it into two equal doses of NUCYNTA ER separated by approximately 12-hour intervals. As an example, a patient receiving 50 mg of NUCYNTA tablets four times per day (200 mg/day) may be converted to 100 mg NUCYNTA ER twice a day. Conversion to NUCYNTA ER may lead to increased risk of excessive sedation and respiratory depression.

Dosage in Pediatric Patients 6 Years and Older with Body Weight of at least 40 kg

‚ÄčPediatric patients who are at least 6 years old, weigh at least 40 kg, and are able to swallow oral tablets:

For patients weighing 40 to 59 kg, administer 50 mg every 4 hours. Do not exceed a maximum single dose of 50 mg. If adequate analgesia is not achieved with a 50 mg NUCYNTA tablet every 4 hours, do not increase to a 75 mg NUCYNTA tablet. Instead consider use of another NUCYNTA product that allows for more flexible dosing, such as NUCYNTA oral solution.

For patients weighing 60 to 79 kg, initiate treatment with 50 mg every 4 hours. Increase the dose if needed to 75 mg every 4 hours to maintain adequate analgesia with acceptable tolerability. Do not exceed a maximum single dose of 75 mg. If adequate analgesia is not achieved with a 75 mg NUCYNTA tablet every 4 hours, do not increase to a 100 mg NUCYNTA tablet. Instead consider use of another NUCYNTA product that allows for more flexible dosing, such as NUCYNTA oral solution.

For patients weighing greater than or equal to 80 kg, initiate treatment with 50 mg every 4 hours. Increase the dose if needed to 75 mg every 4 hours to maintain adequate analgesia with acceptable tolerability. If adequate pain relief is not attained with a 75 mg NUCYNTA tablet every 4 hours, increase the dose to 100 mg every 4 hours to maintain adequate analgesia with acceptable tolerability. Do not exceed a maximum single dose of 100 mg.

The maximum daily dose is 7.5 mg/kg/day (i.e., six 1.25 mg/kg doses over 24 hours).

Daily doses greater than 600 mg have not been studied in pediatric patients and are not recommended.

In pediatric patients with high body mass index (BMI), the maximum daily dose must not exceed the calculated maximum dose for a body weight at the 97th percentile for a given age.

The efficacy and safety of NUCYNTA (tapentadol) tablets at doses higher than 1.25 mg/kg body weight (maximum single dose of 100 mg) have not been studied; therefore, the use of NUCYNTA (tapentadol) tablets at doses higher than 1.25 mg/kg body weight is not recommended [see Clinical Studies (1.1)].

Dose reductions may be considered over time as acute pain decreases.

NUCYNTA tablets are not recommended for use in pediatric patients who weigh less than 40 kg as the recommended dose cannot be achieved with available tablet strengths. Consider use of another NUCYNTA product, such as NUCYNTA oral solution, in patients who cannot swallow oral tablets or who weigh less than 40 kg [see Pediatric Use (8.4)].

Duration of Treatment

NUCYNTA (tapentadol) tablets are intended for the management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. As with all symptomatic treatments, the continued use of tapentadol must be evaluated on an ongoing basis. In pediatric patients, the duration of treatment should not exceed 3 days as the safety and effectiveness of longer treatment have not been established.

Hepatic or Renal Impairment

NUCYNTA (tapentadol) tablets have not been studied in pediatric patients with hepatic or renal impairment; therefore, use in these populations is not recommended [see Pediatric Use (8.4)].

Dosage Modifications in Adult Patients with Hepatic Impairment

The safety and efficacy of NUCYNTA tablets have not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Score 10-15) and use in this population is not recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.17)].

Initiate treatment of patients with moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Score 7 to 9) with 50 mg no more frequently than once every 8 hours (maximum of three doses in 24 hours).

Further treatment should reflect maintenance of analgesia with acceptable tolerability, to be achieved by either shortening or lengthening the dosing interval. Monitor closely for respiratory and central nervous system depression [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

No dosage adjustment is recommended in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Score 5 to 6) [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Titration and Maintenance of Therapy

Individually titrate NUCYNTA tablets to a dose that provides adequate analgesia and minimizes adverse reactions. Continually reevaluate patients receiving NUCYNTA tablets to assess the maintenance of pain control and the relative incidence of adverse reactions, as well as to reassess for the development of addiction, abuse, or misuse [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Frequent communication is important among the prescriber, other members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the caregiver/family during periods of changing analgesic requirements, including initial titration.

If the level of pain increases after dosage stabilization, attempt to identify the source of increased pain before increasing the NUCYNTA tablets dosage. If unacceptable opioid-related adverse reactions are observed, consider reducing the dosage [see Warnings and Precautions (5)]. Adjust the dosage to obtain an appropriate balance between management of pain and opioid-related adverse reactions.

Safe Reduction or Discontinuation of NUCYNTA Tablets

Do not abruptly discontinue NUCYNTA tablets in patients who may be physically dependent on opioids. Rapid discontinuation of opioid analgesics in patients who are physically dependent on opioids has resulted in serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide. Rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may also attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.

When a decision has been made to decrease the dose or discontinue therapy in an opioid- dependent patient taking NUCYNTA tablets, there are a variety of factors that should be considered, including the total daily dose of opioid (including NUCYNTA tablets) the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. It is important to ensure ongoing care of the patient and to agree on an appropriate tapering schedule and follow-up plan so that patient and provider goals and expectations are clear and realistic. When opioid analgesics are being discontinued due to a suspected substance use disorder, evaluate and treat the patient, or refer for evaluation and treatment of the substance use disorder. Treatment should include evidence-based approaches, such as medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Complex patients with co-morbid pain and substance use disorders may benefit from referral to a specialist.

There are no standard opioid tapering schedules that are suitable for all patients. Good clinical practice dictates a patient-specific plan to taper the dose of the opioid gradually. For patients on NUCYNTA tablets who are physically opioid-dependent, initiate the taper by a small enough increment (e.g., no greater than 10% to 25% of the total daily dose) to avoid withdrawal symptoms, and proceed with dose-lowering at an interval of every 2 to 4 weeks. Patients who have been taking opioids for briefer periods of time may tolerate a more rapid taper.

It may be necessary to provide the patient with lower dosage strengths to accomplish a successful taper. Reassess the patient frequently to manage pain and withdrawal symptoms, should they emerge. Common withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other signs and symptoms also may develop, including irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate. If withdrawal symptoms arise, it may be necessary to pause the taper for a period of time or raise the dose of the opioid analgesic to the previous dose, and then proceed with a slower taper. In addition, evaluate patients for any changes in mood, emergence of suicidal thoughts, or use of other substances.

When managing patients taking opioid analgesics, particularly those who have been treated for an extended period of time and/or with high doses for chronic pain, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper. A multimodal approach to pain management may optimize the treatment of chronic pain, as well as assist with the successful tapering of the opioid analgesic [see Warnings and Precautions (5.14), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.3)].

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.