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Exploring Tapentadol (Aspadol) As A Treatment For Headache And Migraine

Exploring Tapentadol (Aspadol) As A Treatment For Headache And Migraine


Tapentadol available under the brand names Aspadol and Nucynta can help with severe and persistent headaches by blocking the pain sensation from reaching the brain receptors. It works within 30 minutes and is considered a second line of treatment for Migraine. 



Headaches are one of the most common health issues in modern times. According to a survey, one out of every six Americans suffers from headaches. 

If you experience intense and persistent headaches, you may be prescribed Tapentadol brand drugs such as Aspadol or Nucynta by your physician for better and faster pain relief. However, Tapenatdol is not the first line of treatment for migraine. Thus, this blog takes a look at Aspadol as an effective treatment option for headaches along with its notable benefits and health risks. 


A Brief Overview Of Migraine And Tapentadol 

Tapentadol is an opioid pain medication with a dual mechanism of action. It has an improved side effect profile and was first synthesized and marketed in the USA by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Nucynta. The other brand of Tapentadol manufactured by Signature Pharmaceuticals is Aspadol. 

Understanding Headaches And Migraines

Migraine is a form of headache that causes severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. It is a neurological condition that may also cause sensitivity to light, Nausea, lightheadedness, and vomiting. 

Migraine can be distinguished from other headaches from the following symptoms-

  • Throbbing

  • Pounding

  • Pulsating

  • Debilitating

  • Perforating

Most pain associated with migraine lasts for about 4 hours. If left untreated, it can last up to 72 hours [1]. 


Tapentadol For Migraine- How Does Tapentadol Help In Managing Headaches? 

It is important to note that Tapentadol is not the primary treatment option for managing the symptoms of migraines but has shown effective results in improving and providing effective pain relief. 

The mechanism of action of Tapentadol is by binding to mu-opioid receptors and inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine.

Aspadol helps manage migraine headaches by binding to the mu-opioid receptors of the brain. It then blocks the transmission of the pain signals from the affected part of the body from reaching the brain receptors, thus helping get pain relief. 


Comparison Of Tapaentadol (Aspadol) For Migraine With Other Pain Medications


Comparison Of Tapaentadol (Aspadol) For Migraine With Other Pain Medications


Some of the clinically approved medications prescribed for Migraine are generic pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Triptans such as Tosymra, Maxalt, and Imitrex. 

Dihydroergotamine is available as a nasal spray or injection. They last for 24 hours and include side effects such as nausea and vomiting. 

On the other hand, Lasmiditan is a new version of an oral tablet that can cause dizziness and sedation for at least 8 hours. 

The key benefits of getting Aspadol over other available treatment options for Migraine are listed in the table below. 


Other Treatment Options

Benefits of Aspadol Over The Mentioned Treatment 

Pain relievers

Unlike other pain medications, Aspadol offers a round-the-clock action against both acute and chronic pain. 


The onset of action of triptans is within 30 to 60 minutes. For a faster duration of action, the intake of Aspadol tablets is advisable which works within 30 minutes of administration. 

Dihydroergotamine (Migranal, Trudhesa)

Tapentadol has an improved side effect profile than Dihydroergotamine, thus making it a safer analgesic choice. 

Lasmiditan (Reyvow)

Lasmiditan's action lasts for 2 hours. For a longer efficacy and duration of action, it is advisable to choose Aspadol, which lasts for 4 to 6 hours. 


Benefits Of Tapentadol

  • The use of Tapentadol helps in providing relief from moderate to severe acute pain. 

  • It has a safer and better side effect profile making it an effective treatment option over many other pain medications. 

  • It is available in both immediate-release and extended-release formulations, offering flexibility in dosing regimens.


Potential Side Effects And Precautions

Tapentadol usually causes mild to moderate side effects that go away as the body adjusts to the medication. 

The common side effects of Tapentadol include constipation, dizziness, Nausea, drowsiness, and vomiting. In rare cases, if you experience serious side effects such as stomach/abdominal pain, confusion, fainting, seizures, loss of appetite, and interrupted breathing, inform your doctor immediately. 

Getting a serious allergic reaction from Aspadol is rare; however, consult a doctor if you come across itching, swelling, or rash. 

Preventive measures that should be taken into consideration while taking Tapentadol pain medication include-

  • The use of Aspadol medication is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. 

  • Avoid the use of other medications with Tapentadol to avoid drug interaction. 

  • One can avoid suffering from constipation by eating dietary fiber, exercising, and drinking enough water. 

  • As this medication can cause dizziness, it is advisable to avoid driving and using heavy machinery with Tapentadol. 

  • Tapentadol can cause respiratory depression when used in high doses. Patients should be monitored for signs of respiratory depression.

  • Its use by elderly people over the age of 65 years and below 18 years is not recommended. 

  • Tapentadol is metabolized primarily in the liver and excreted through the kidneys. Thus people with renal and hepatic disorders should not take Aspadol medication. 


Investigating Tapentadol-Induced Headaches In A Minority Of Patients

Headache is not commonly reported with tapentadol use, however there are a few patients who experience this adverse effect.

The Mayo Clinic lists headaches as a less common side effect of Tapentadol [2]. So, in case you see an exacerbation in your condition or worsening of headache due to its use, consult a doctor immediately. 


Our Final Thought On The Use Of Aspadol For Migraine Headache 

We can conclude that Tapentadol emerges as a promising therapeutic treatment option for migraine headaches.  Its dual mechanism of action offers both opioid and noradrenergic effects, providing effective relief while potentially minimizing the risk of adverse events associated with traditional opioids. 

Clinical studies have demonstrated its efficacy in reducing migraine intensity and improving patient outcomes. However, careful consideration of individual patient factors and potential side effects is essential in its use. 

Overall, Tapentadol represents a valuable addition to treatments available for migraine headaches, offering a balance of efficacy and safety for patients seeking relief from this debilitating condition.



Key Points-

  • Aspadol is prescribed for headaches in cases where other Pain medications do not provide effective pain relief. 

  • It's important to note that the use of opioids, including Tapentadol, for headache management should be done under medical supervision. 

  • It is important to note that Aspadol is an opioid medicine with a risk of abuse and dependency. Thus, its use for headaches should be done in severe cases only after consulting a doctor. 



Tapentadol helps in managing body pain by changing the way the brain and the nervous system respond to the pain.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is one of the most recommended medicines for treating migraine. Tapentadol brand drugs such as Aspadol or Nucybta can help manage migraine in cases where other medication fails to show effective results.

Yes, Tapentadol can be taken with pain medication such as Ibuprofen.

It takes 30 minutes for Tapentadol to start acting.


  1. Migraine, Mayoclinic. 

  2. Side Effects - Tapentadol (Oral Route), Mayo Clinic.