Can The Opioid Tapentadol be Addictive & Cause Dependence?

Home » Addiction Treatment » Can The Opioid Tapentadol be Addictive & Cause Dependence?

Table of Contents

Yes, tapentadol, like other opioids, can be addictive and cause dependence. Its dual mechanism as both an opioid receptor agonist and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor means it can effectively manage pain but also carries a risk of opioid abuse and dependence. Monitoring by healthcare professionals is important to manage and mitigate these risks during opioid treatment.

Key Takeaways

  • Quick Overview of Tapentadol: Tapentadol is an opioid analgesic used for managing moderate to severe pain. It is available in immediate-release forms and works on the central nervous system, making it suitable for chronic pain management.
  • Risk of Dependence and Addiction: Like other opioids, Tapentadol has a risk of dependence, especially with long-term use. Patients should be closely monitored to prevent misuse and substance abuse disorders.
  • Comparison with Other Opioids: Tapentadol is often compared with oxycodone. While Tapentadol has a lower abuse potential, both opioids pose significant risks and require careful prescription management.
  • Signs of Tapentadol Dependence: Dependence on Tapentadol can manifest through increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and behavioral changes such as seeking multiple prescriptions.
  • Seeking Help for Opioid Dependence: Various treatment options are available for those struggling with Tapentadol dependence, including medical treatments, support groups, and counseling. Virtue Recovery Chandler provides essential support and resources.


Tapentadol is a prescription opioid analgesic often used to manage severe pain. While it is effective, there is a potential for addiction and dependence. This article explores these risks, compares Tapentadol to other opioids like oxycodone, and provides guidance on recognizing and seeking help for dependence.

Understanding Tapentadol

What is Tapentadol?

Tapentadol is a prescription opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. It acts as an analgesic and alters how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Available in both immediate-release and extended-release forms, Tapentadol offers an alternative to other opioids, requiring careful usage due to its potential for dependence.

How Tapentadol Works

Tapentadol modulates pain signals by acting on the central nervous system. It is unique in its dual mechanism of action, which involves both opioid receptor agonism and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. This makes it different from traditional opioids and suitable for chronic pain management.

Tapentadol vs. Other Opioids

Comparison with Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a stronger opioid with a higher potential for abuse. While Tapentadol is seen as a safer alternative due to its lower abuse potential, both require careful monitoring. Prescription guidelines are essential to prevent misuse and ensure patient safety.

Differences in Abuse Potential

Tapentadol’s unique action results in a lower abuse potential compared to other opioids. However, it still poses a risk of dependence. Patients may experience less euphoria, which is considered a factor in its lower abuse risk, but the possibility of addiction remains significant.

Risks and Effects of Tapentadol

Short-term Effects

The primary short-term effect of Tapentadol is pain relief. Common side effects include nausea and dizziness, and there is a potential for misuse. Careful dosage management is crucial to minimize risks, and patients should be aware of the short-term euphoria risk.

Long-term Effects

Long-term use of Tapentadol can lead to dependence and chronic health issues. Withdrawal symptoms are common, and psychological effects can occur. Long-term prescription monitoring is necessary to manage these risks effectively.

Signs of Abuse and Dependence

Increased tolerance and behavioral changes are key signs of Tapentadol abuse and dependence. Patients may seek multiple prescriptions and exhibit physical dependence symptoms. Early intervention is crucial to address these issues.

Recognizing Tapentadol Dependence

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Symptoms of Tapentadol dependence include increased usage beyond prescription, withdrawal symptoms, mood swings, and irritability. Physical health decline and secretive behavior about drug use are also warning signs that should not be ignored.

Behavioral Changes to Look Out For

Social withdrawal, neglecting responsibilities, changes in daily habits, and financial problems due to drug purchases are behavioral changes indicative of dependence. Seeking illegal sources for Tapentadol is a severe red flag.

Treatment Options for Tapentadol Dependence

Medical Treatments and Therapies

Detox programs and medication-assisted treatments are effective medical options for Tapentadol dependence. Behavioral therapy and both inpatient and outpatient treatment options are available, with personalized treatment plans providing the best outcomes.

Support Groups and Counseling

Support groups and counseling play a crucial role in recovery from Tapentadol dependence. Long-term support and family involvement are beneficial, and resources at Virtue Recovery Chandler offer comprehensive assistance.


Tapentadol is an effective opioid analgesic but comes with significant risks. Understanding these risks, recognizing the signs of dependence, and seeking help are crucial steps in managing opioid use. Virtue Recovery Chandler offers the support needed for those struggling with dependence.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, give us a call at 866-338-5779.


What is Tapentadol prescribed for?

Tapentadol is prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain, often in cases where other pain medications are ineffective.

How does Tapentadol compare to other opioids like oxycodone?

Tapentadol is generally considered to have a lower abuse potential than oxycodone, though both opioids carry significant risks of dependence and require careful management.

What are the signs of Tapentadol dependence?

Signs of dependence include increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, mood swings, and secretive behavior about drug use. Physical health decline and seeking multiple prescriptions are also indicators.

Can Tapentadol be used safely?

Yes, Tapentadol can be used safely when prescribed by a healthcare professional and taken as directed. It’s important to follow the prescribed dosage and be aware of the potential for dependence.

How does tapentadol work?

Tapentadol operates as a pain medicine by acting on the central nervous system, combining opioid receptor activation and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. This dual mechanism makes tapentadol effective for managing moderate to severe pain. The risk of opioid abuse is present, as with other opioids, necessitating careful monitoring during opioid therapy.

How do I dispose of medicines safely?

To safely dispose of medicines like tapentadol, you should follow guidelines from national drug authorities or return unused medications to pharmacy take-back programs. Avoid flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash unless specifically directed. This approach helps prevent drug dependence and protects sensitive information regarding medication use.

How long is it safe to take tapentadol?

The duration for safe use of tapentadol, including immediate release or its extended forms, should be as short as possible and determined by a healthcare provider. Long-term use increases the risk of opioid dependence and other side effects associated with chronic opioid exposure. Regular review and assessment are crucial to mitigate the risks of prolonged opioid treatment.

Can tapentadol be taken long-term?

Long-term use of tapentadol may lead to issues like tolerance, physical dependence, and the risk of abuse. It’s important for patients on long-term opioid treatment to have their condition and treatment approach regularly reviewed by healthcare professionals. Continuous use should be based on a careful comparison of the risks and benefits, especially considering the potential for abuse of tapentadol.

Is tapentadol safe for the heart?

While tapentadol is generally considered safer than some other opioids, any opioid use can potentially impact the heart, especially in high doses or long-term use. Patients with existing heart conditions should discuss the risks of opioid exposure with their doctor. Tapentadol use should be monitored carefully to avoid cardiovascular complications during opioid therapy.

Where can I find help for Tapentadol dependence?

Virtue Recovery Chandler provides comprehensive support and treatment options for those struggling with Tapentadol dependence. Contact us at 866-338-5779 for assistance.


author avatar
Gigi Price Clinical Director
Gigi Price holds licenses as a Master Social Worker and Clinical Drug Counselor. She completed her master's degree in Social Work at Texas State University. Over the last decade, Gigi has been dedicated to utilizing evidence-based practices to enhance patient care and treatment planning, resulting in positive, long-term outcomes for patients and their families. Her passion lies in creating a treatment environment where professionals collaborate to bring about positive change and provide a safe, trustworthy therapeutic experience. Patients can be confident in receiving top-quality care under her leadership. In her role as the Clinical Director of Virtue Recovery Houston, Gigi conducted research to identify the most effective approaches for treating patients with acute mental health diagnoses, PTSD, and Substance Use Disorder. She then assembled a team of skilled clinicians who could offer various therapeutic modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Somatic Exposure, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Gigi takes pride in overseeing the development and implementation of Virtue Houston's Treatment Program, which includes two specialized therapeutic curricula tailored to the unique needs of individuals struggling with mental health issues, addiction, and PTSD.

Break Free from Addiction

Speak with Our Experts Now!

Call Us

Let's Begin Your Journey to Recovery Together

At Virtue Recovery Center, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Our dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing the compassionate care and expert guidance you need to start your journey to recovery. Don’t wait any longer to take control of your life. Contact us today, and let’s work together to create a brighter, healthier future for you. Your path to recovery begins with a single step – reach out now and find the support you deserve.

Scroll to Top