BACKGROUND: Tapentadol (Nucynta) is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe pain in adults. Tapentadol’s mechanism of action consists of acting as an agonist on the μ-opioid receptor and by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine. There are no published reports on the toxicity of tapentadol in pediatric patients. The goals of this study are to describe the incidence, medical outcomes, clinical effects, and treatment secondary to tapentadol exposure.
METHODS: This retrospective observational study used data from the National Poison Data System. Inclusion criteria were exposure to tapentadol from November 1, 2008 to December 31, 2013; age 0 to 17 years; single ingestion; and followed to a known outcome.
RESULTS: There were 104 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Eighty patients were aged ≤6, 2-year-olds the most common age group (60.6%). There were 52 male and 52 female patients. Of the 104 patients, 93 had unintentional exposures. No deaths were reported. Sixty-two of the patients had no effect, 34 had minor effects, 6 had moderate and 2 had major effects. Thirty patients reported drowsiness and lethargy. Other effects reported included nausea, vomiting, miosis, tachycardia, respiratory depression, dizziness/vertigo, coma, dyspnea, pallor, vomiting, edema, hives/welts, slurred speech, pruritus, and hallucinations/delusions. Fifty-three patients were reported to have no medical intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study examining the toxic effects of tapentadol in a pediatric population. Although a majority of the patients in this review developed no effect from their exposure, two had life-threatening events. The most common effects reported were opioidlike.
- Accepted November 24, 2014.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics