One of the bright new changes in pain medications over the last few years were two medications: Ultram (tramadol) and now Nucynta (tapentadol). These are different from Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen), and Tylenol #3 (codeine/acetaminophen) in many ways and are considered much “gentler.” So, is Nucynta better? Lets look.
2. Tramadol is like a baby Nucynta (tapentadol). Tramadol works as a relatively weak opioid receptor agonist. Tramadol also inhibits norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake which contributes to pain relief. It’s not as “strong” as Nucynta.
3. Nucynta (tapentadol) comes in an immediate or extended release pill (Nucynta ER). Nucynta’s effect on the opioid receptor is several-fold greater than tramadol’s, with more prominent norepinephrine reuptake inhibition.
4. Tramadol is perfect for pain conditions where a strong opioid component is not needed—and it has the benefit of a low abuse potential. Nucynta, a schedule II controlled substance, is well-suited for pain conditions requiring a strong opioid component (post-operative pain, pain where other medications have failed you) and it has the benefit of greater gastrointestinal tolerability compared to classical strong opioids.
5. Is Nucynta (tapentadol) as good as oxycodone? Studies have shown that Nucynta works as well as oxycodone for spinal compression fractures and the pain relief provided is similar to oxycodone and morphine.
6. Nucynta has been well studied and shown to be effective for chronic back pain, diabetic neuropathy, and post-operative pain.
8. Is it less addictive? Yes. Nucynta appears to have a low level of abuse in post-marketing studies.
Worth considering . . .