What should I know about Nucynta ER before I take it?

The pain medication Nucynta ER (extended release tapentadol) is a powerful drug. Here are important things to know about Nucynta before taking it:
  • Breathing problems. Nucynta ER blocks your body's perception of pain by suppressing your central nervous system. Because the central nervous system also controls respiration, Nucynta ER can interfere with normal breathing and even cause you to stop breathing. For that reason, you shouldn’t use Nucynta ER at all if you already have a lung condition, including asthma or chronic pulmonary obstruction disease (which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema). You're most likely to experience breathing problems from Nucynta ER when you first start to take it or right after your doctor increases your dose. Get medical help immediately if you experience any of the following: slow or shallow breathing, feeling faint, confusion, dizziness, or any other unusual symptoms.
  • Abuse potential. It’s possible to become addicted to Nucynta ER. You're at higher risk if you or a family member has a history of mental illness or of abusing drugs (prescription or illicit) or alcohol. If so, you should be carefully monitored while taking Nucynta ER.
  • Overdose danger. Always swallow your pills whole with plenty of water. Nucynta ER is formulated to release its active ingredient over 12 hours. If you crush, chew or dissolve Nucynta ER, you can immediately release the entire day's dose into your system, which could cause a fatal overdose.
  • Alcohol warning. You cannot drink alcohol, or use medication that contains alcohol, while you’re taking Nucynta ER. Alcohol can cause your body to absorb the drug too rapidly so that extremely high amounts are released into your bloodstream. The result could be a deadly overdose.
  • Danger to children. The standard warning to keep your medication away from others is especially important with powerful drugs like Nucynta ER. If a child swallows Nucynta ER, it could be fatal.

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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.