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Nucynta ER

Generic name: tapentadolta-PEN-ta-dol ]
Brand names: Nucynta, Nucynta ER
Drug class: Opioids (narcotic analgesics)

Medically reviewed by on Jan 16, 2024. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Nucynta ER?

Nucynta ER is an opioid medicine used to treat short-term pain. This medicine tablet can be used as needed in adults and children at least 6 years old that weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kg).

The extended-release form of tapentadol is used only in adults to treat severe to chronic pain that requires longer treatment. Nucynta ER is not to be used for pain on an as needed basis.

The extended-release form of tapentadol may also used to treat severe and chronic nerve pain in adults with diabetes.

Nucynta ER is usually given after other treatments did not work or were not tolerated.

Nucynta ER may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Nucynta ER side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur, especially if you drink alcohol or use other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow breathing. A person caring for you should give naloxone and/or seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Nucynta ER may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Serious breathing problems may be more likely in older adults and people who are debilitated or have wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Common side effects of Nucynta ER may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


MISUSE OF OPIOID MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medicine where others cannot get to it.

Fatal side effects may occur if you also drink alcohol or use other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow breathing.

Using opioid medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Nucynta ER if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you also use stimulant medicine, other opioid medicine, herbal products, or medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. An interaction with Nucynta ER could cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome.

Long-term Nucynta ER may affect fertility in men or women. Pregnancy could be harder to achieve while either parent is using Nucynta ER.

May harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you use Nucynta ER during pregnancy, your baby could be born with life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, and may need medical treatment for several weeks.

Do not breastfeed. Nucynta ER in breast milk can cause life-threatening side effects in a nursing baby.

How should I take Nucynta ER?

Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Never use Nucynta ER in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to take more of this medicine.

Never share opioid medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medicine where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Stop taking all other medications that contain Nucynta ER or tramadol when you start taking this medicine extended-release.

Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of this medicine. Avoid medication errors by using only the medicine your doctor prescribes.

Never crush a pill to inhale the powder or inject it into your vein. This could result in death.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water with or without food.

Swallow the tablet whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose. Do not crush, chew, break, or dissolve it.

Doses are based on weight in children and teenagers. Your child's dose may change if the child gains or loses weight.

You may be given other medications to help prevent or treat certain side effects. Keep taking these medicines for as long as your doctor has prescribed.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.

You may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using Nucynta ER suddenly. Ask your doctor before stopping the medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep your medicine in a place where no one can use it improperly.

Do not keep leftover medicine. Just one dose can cause death in someone using it accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist about a drug take-back program, or flush the unused medicine down the toilet.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Nucynta ER is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or person using opioid medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, slow breathing, or no breathing.

Your doctor may recommend you get naloxone (a medicine to reverse an opioid overdose) and keep it with you at all times. A person caring for you can give the naloxone if you stop breathing or don't wake up. Your caregiver must still get emergency medical help and may need to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on you while waiting for help to arrive.

Anyone can buy naloxone from a pharmacy or local health department. Make sure any person caring for you knows where you keep naloxone and how to use it.

What should I avoid while taking Nucynta ER?

Do not drink alcohol or any products that contain alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how Nucynta ER will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries. Also avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

What other drugs will affect Nucynta ER?

Many other drugs can be dangerous when used with opioid medicine. Tell your doctor if you also use:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect Nucynta ER. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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