Tapentadol, a Schedule II opioid with a combination of µ-opioid activity and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition, is used for the management of moderate to severe acute and chronic pain. Its dual mechanism of action is thought to reduce opioid-related side effects that can complicate pain management. Since approval, tapentadol has been tracked across multiple outcomes suggesting abuse liability, and a pattern of relatively low, although not absent, abuse liability has been found. This retrospective cohort study further details the abuse liability of tapentadol as an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) when immediate-release as well as extended-release formulations were on the market together (fourth quarter of 2011 to second quarter of 2016). Tapentadol (API) was compared with tramadol, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone across Poison Center, Drug Diversion, and Treatment Center Programs Combined data streams from the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance system. Findings suggest the public health burden related to tapentadol to date is low, but present. Event rates of abuse per population-level denominators were significantly lower than all other opioids examined. However, when adjusted for drug availability, event rates of abuse were lower than most Schedule II opioids studied, but were not the lowest. Disentangling these 2 sets of findings further by examining various opioid formulations, such as extended-release and the role of abuse-deterrent formulations, is warranted. Perspective: This article presents the results from an examination of tapentadol API across the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance System: a broad and carefully designed postmarketing mosaic. Data to date from Poison Center, Drug Diversion, and Treatment Centers combined suggest a low, but present public health burden related to tapentadol.
- Prescription drug abuse
- active pharmaceutical ingredient
- pain management
- prescription opioid abuse
- prescription opioid analgesic
- tapentadol abuse liability