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Can I use Nucynta if I am taking antidepressants?

Do not take the pain medication Nucynta (tapentadol) if you are using an antidepressant from the group called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have used one in the past 14 days. Both Nucynta and MAOIs increase your body's level of the chemical norepinephrine. Taken together they can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. MAOIs include: isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl, Zelapar) and tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Taking the pain medication Nucynta (tapentadol) along with an MAOI or many other types of antidepressants can also cause a rare but potentially deadly condition called serotonin syndrome. Nucynta is still prescribed for people taking antidepressants other than MAOIs, but you should be aware of the risk. Like Nucynta, many antidepressants increase your levels of the chemical serotonin. If you take Nucynta and one of these drugs together, it's possible to end up with a dangerously high amount of serotonin. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include: agitation, hallucinations, coma, rapid heartbeat, dramatic blood-pressure changes, dangerously elevated body temperature, coordination problems, twitching, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The following types of antidepressants put you at potential risk for serotonin syndrome if you also take Nucynta:

  • tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin, imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil) and trimipramine (Surmontil)
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, in Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft)
  • selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor)

Tell your doctor if you take any of these types of antidepressants before you start taking Nucynta or if you begin taking one while still using the pain medication.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.