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Nucynta ER Vs Nucynta IR- A study of the Tapentadol doses

Nucynta ER Vs Nucynta IR- A study of the Tapentadol doses

Are you wondering about what Nucynta ER is and why we should be aware of it when there are numerous analgesics on the market? The answers to all your questions lie ahead. We will all agree that body pain can be very frustrating and challenging. It is an unpleasant sensation that is often triggered by the central nervous system. The sedentary and monotonous lifestyle have added up to the causes of this discomfort. I am sure you can relate to that sharp pain in your back and neck from your long desk work. And conventional pain medication takes about an hour to show results [1]. The use of Tapentadol pain medication is a much better option as the onset of action of the drug is 30 minutes and is effective in treating severe and sharp pain in users. Nucynta is the brand name of Tapenatdol and is marketed as Nucynta ER and generic Tapentadol or Nucynta IR. Most users struggle with finding the right Nucynta doses. This article thus aims to help provide the basic information on Nucynta ER and IR and how they differ to help you decide between the two potential opioid analgesics. 

How does Nucynta ER differ from generic Tapentadol (Nucynta IR)?

The Nucynta ER is the extended-release formulation of Tapentadol and IR is the immediate-release formulation of the opioid analgesic. The Nucynta ER is a prescription drug that is used to treat severe pain in users. Since they belong to the same class of drugs with similar composition and key ingredients thus they are seen to have similar effects on the patient.  


Nucynta ER

Nucynta IR

FDA approval 



Onset of action

30 minutes

30 minutes

Time of action

5 to 6 hours

12 hours


Formulated for slow release

Fast-release formulation


Acute pain

Chronic pain

Pregnancy Category 

Category C 

Category C 

Legal status

Schedule IV 

Schedule IV 


How long does it take Nucynta ER to kick in?

The Nucynta ER takes about 30 minutes to show results to the user. The exact mode of action that is involved in the mechanisms of action of the analgesic is still under evaluation. Investigations so far indicate that Tapentadol adopts a dual mode of action making it a much better and safer choice of opioid analgesic. 

How long does it take Nucynta ER to kick in?

The above figure published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the action of Tapentadol is by inhibiting the nociceptive signs and inhibiting the pain sensation in the body [2]. The onset of action of Nucynta or Palexia may vary from 20 to 30 minutes depending on the metabolic activity and other health factors of the user. 

Nucynta IR vs Nucynta ER dose

The Nucynta IR or generic Tapentadol doses can be taken 3 to 4 times a day. Its half-life of the generic version is 3 hours and its action lasts for approximately 5 to 6 hours. On the other hand, the Nucynta ER is an extended-release formula. This means that the medication keeps acting slowly at different intervals of time. The efficacy of the opioid drug lasts for 12 hours and therefore the Nucynta ER doses should be taken at an interval of 12 to 14 hours. The maximum dose for Tapentadol is 600mg per day, for Nucynta ER is 500 mg [3]. 

What is the available dosage of Nucynta ER?

The available dose of Tapentadol is 50mg, 75 mg, and Tapentadol 100mg. Whereas, the Nucynta ER is available in the dose of 50mg, 100mg, 150mg, 200mg, and 250mg [4]. The most common prescription is the Nucynta ER 100mg. 

How to break down Nucynta ER?

The Nucynta ER is formulated to resist crushing and breaking. The prescription use of the opioid analgesic is recommended to take the pill as a whole without breaking the medication. This is because the Nucynta ER is formulated for slow release and crushing the pill may lead to an uncontrolled or unmonitored release of the compound and cause rapid absorption in the body. This can result in overdosing further causing severe side effects in the user. 

What is the Nucynta ER maximum dosage?

The maximum dose of Nucynta ER is 500mg in a day. This oral pill should be taken twice a day at a minimum time gap of 12 hours between the two doses. 

How long does Nucynta ER stay in your system?


Tapentadol opioid analgesic on reaching the body gets metabolized in the liver of the person. This is then eliminated from the system with the help of the kidney. The presence of Nucynta in the system can be detected by a drug test. Traces of Nucynta can be found in different parts of the body such as hair, blood, urine, and saliva. The duration of the presence of the compound in these body parts differs from one person to another depending on numerous factors. 


The detection time of Nucynta in the system 


Parts of the Body

Presence of Nucynta in the system


24 hours


3 to 4 days


90 days


6 to 7 hours


Nucynta ER vs Oxycodone- Which is a better choice?

The Nucynta ER and Oxycodone are both opioid pain medications thus exhibiting similar actions in the human body. However, due to the dual mechanism of action, Tapentadol is a much safer analgesic option for people. 

Nucynta ER vs Oxycodone

According to a study by R.van der Schrier, Tapentadol 10mg has a modest advantage over Oxycodone for causing respiratory depression in the user [4]. The duration of action of Nucynta ER is longer than Oxycodone making it a better choice for people with severe chronic pain. 

Generic Tapentadol vs Nucynta ER reviews

The Nucynta ER reviews from the trusted site WebMD speak about its effectiveness, satisfaction, and ease of use in people. The comparison of the two formulations shows that the Nucynta ER has much better user ratings compared to the generic Tapentadol. 

Tapentadol vs Nucynta ER reviews

Nucynta ER drug interactions

Nucynta ER drug interactions


The use of Nucynta ER with other medications can cause interactions that can lead to lowering the efficacy of the drug and increasing the chances of the occurrence of the side effects. 


Drug interaction of Nucynta ER 



Clinical Impact 


The use of Nucynta ER with alcohol can increase the Tapentadol blood plasma concentration. 

CNS depressants

Increases the risk of respiratory depression, hypotension, and profound sedation. In extreme cases, it can cause coma in the patients. 

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Can cause serotonin syndrome or opioid toxicity

Serotonergic Drugs

Can cause serotonin syndrome

Opioid analgesics

It can reduce the analgesic effect of Tapenatdol and cause withdrawal symptoms in the patient. 

Muscle relaxants

Can cause respiratory depression

Anticholinergic Drugs

It can increase the risk of retaining urine and further lead to gastric motility. 


Nucynta ER withdrawal and warnings 

Nucynta ER when discontinued abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms in the user. The long-term use of Tapentadol is not advised and should be taken for less than three continuous weeks. Before completely terminating the administration of Nucynta ER it is advised to first lower the dose of the analgesic. This will give the body some time to adjust to the lower concentration of the compound thus ensuring minimum side effects from the opioid pain medication. 

Tapentadol warnings
The figure above published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is a comparison of Tapentadol ER with other extended formulated medications [2]. This shows that the risk of abuse of Tapentadol ER is comparatively lesser than the other opioid analgesics.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

The long-term use of Nucynta ER during pregnancy can cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in the baby. If this is not recognized and treated at the right time it can be life-threatening for the infant [5]. The use of Tapentadol during pregnancy is therefore not advisable and should be only under the guidance of a physician. 

The Tapentadol withdrawal symptoms in the user appear within a few hours of the last dosage of the analgesic. Some of the signs of withdrawal are-

  • Anxiety

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Insomnia

  • Diarrhea

  • Hallucination

  • Tremors

This is not a complete list of all the Nucynta ER withdrawals, one may come across other signs apart from the one listed here. 

Nucynta side effects

Tapentadol pain medication is a highly tolerated drug. Therefore, the chances of side effects are low and mild. However, certain conditions such as improper administration of the drug or overdosing can cause adverse effects on the user. The table below represents the possible side effects of Nucynta ER in 980 patients for treating chronic pain in comparison to placebo [3]. 


Side effects

Nucynta ER (50mg to 250mg)











Dry mouth









Decrease in appetite









Blurry vision 



The table does not include all the side effects of the analgesic. However, the signs of the effects are mild and will gradually go away. However, if the condition persists you may consult a physician immediately. 

Tapentadol price comparison- Which is an affordable opioid analgesic option?

The Nucynta ER is a prescription drug and therefore is available over the counter. However, it can be bought from online pharmacies at a much cheaper price. But when it comes to affordable analgesic choices, is Tapentadol the best option? 


This figure from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission compares Tapenatdol's price with other available opioid medicine in the market. This study shows that both Tapenatdol and Tapentadol ER are retailed at a much more affordable price compared to the other analgesics. You can get Nucynta Online from Healthnaturo at $2.77 per pill.


  1. Painkillers and  NSAIDs, versusarthritis.

  2. A force in Pain and neurology focused on growth, 

  3. Nucynta ER, Rxlist

  4. An experimental study comparing the respiratory effects of tapentadol and oxycodone in healthy volunteers, R.van der Schrier et al, ScienceDirect. 

  5. Nucynta ER,