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Understanding Tapentadol Use in Veterinary Medicine: Benefits and Considerations

Understanding Tapentadol Use in Veterinary Medicine: Benefits and Considerations


Tapentadol, or Aspadol, is a pain medication commonly used in humans but has been found to be effective in pets too. However, its use in veterinary species still requires further investigation and supervision. It helps in managing severe pain within 30 minutes with a much better safety and efficacy profile than other available opioid medicines on the market. 



Just like humans, animals experience pain that can greatly impact their well-being and quality of life. However, to date, there remains a gap in the advancement of effective treatment options for pets compared to humans. 

Currently, in the world of veterinary medical services, Tapentadol is gaining attention for its potential to alleviate moderate to severe pain. However, we still need to take a closer look at both its advantages and important factors to consider. 

In this blog, we dive deep into the benefits of Tapentadol or its brand drug, Aspadol, in managing pain in our furry friends while highlighting key factors that veterinarians and pet owners should consider to ensure its safety and efficacy.


What Is Tapentadol?

Tapentadol is a centrally acting analgesic that is described as the first agent of a new class of drugs combining two mechanisms of action- µ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonism and noradrenaline reuptake inhibition (NRI).

People often order Aspadol 100 mg tablets as a generic version of Tapentadol tablets is not available. It is approved by the FDA for medical use for treating acute and chronic pain within 30 minutes of use. 

Tapentadol helps in managing diabetic neuropathy, migraine, headaches, and postoperative pain. It has a better tolerability and safety profile than other opioid pain medications, thus becoming an effective and potent treatment option for body pain. 


Tapentadol In Veterinary Medicine- How Does It Work?

While it is primarily used in humans, its use in veterinary medicine for certain cases is advisable and considered safe. 

Tapentadol, along with its brand medication, Aspadol, works through a dual mechanism of action- Mu-Opioid Receptor Agonism and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibition.

Tapentadol's mechanism of action involves binding to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) that inhibits the transmission of pain signals and alters the perception of pain in the brain. 


Applications Of Tapentadol In Veterinary Practice




Tapentadol in pets is specifically recommended for managing severe chronic pain that does not respond well to other pain medications. 

Tapentadol Use In Dogs

The tolerability of Tapentadol was seen to be high in dogs in a 2018 study by James Howard et al. [1].  Another study shows that Giorgi et al. further confirms the benefits of Tapentadol hydrochloride in dogs. 

Tapentadol Use In Cats 

The use of Tapentadol in cats was studied by J. Lakritz et al., who concluded that Tapentadol-O-sulfate was a major metabolite, indicating that it may be an effective treatment option in pets [2]. 

Its use in cats was reported to cause thermal antinociception, which indicates a reduction of pain caused by heat or temperature changes in a 2017 study by Graeme M. Doodnaught et al. [3] 

Others Animals-

Its use in rabbits was also evaluated in a 2023 study by Giorgi. M et al., from the Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, suggest that Tapentadol is an effective analgesic agent in rabbits on the parameters used as pain markers in the present study- Perioperative parameter and Post-surgical pain evaluation.


Clinical Evidence And Case Studies 

The medical use of Tapentadol was seen to be more effective in managing pain in small animals. However, the study by Adriana Domínguez-Oliva et al. further suggests that additional studies are needed to evaluate its activity in managing pain in dogs and cats [4].

Another study by Nina R. Kieves et al. from 2020 suggests that taking a Tapentadol (Aspadol dosage of 30 mg/kg by weight significantly lowered lameness score ( the inability to walk properly due to an injury to the legs or feet). The effectiveness of the medication was reported to have lasted up to 4 hours after administration [5]. 


Safety And Side Effects

A study in 2012 by Mario Giorgi et al. shows that the use of Tapentadol in dogs resulted in side effects such as sedation, salivation, and panting [6]. 

The other side effects associated with Tapentadol pain medication include constipation, loss of appetite, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and vomiting. 


Challenges And Considerations For Aspadol Tablets 

Three of the major challenges that one should consider while taking Tapentadol tablets are- 

  • The possibility of dependency on Tapentadol cannot be overlooked, and it may be hard to track in animals. 

  • Lack of enough scientific data and studies to draw an unbiased conclusion. 

  • Its possibility of drug interaction should be taken into consideration while prescribing to pets. 


  • It should be prescribed during pregnancy as it can affect the fetus in both humans and animals. 

  • Start with a lower dosage of the medication. 

  • Avoid long-term use of the analgesic. 


Final Thoughts On Tapentadol Use In Veterinary Species

Tapentadol is an effective pain medication for treating moderate to severe body pain. Takes 30 minutes to work and lasts for 4 to 6 hours. The dosage of the medication can be taken 2 to 3 times a day. However, further investigations are needed to make further conclusions. 

It's important to note that the use of tapentadol or any opioid medication in veterinary medicine should only be done under the guidance and supervision of a qualified veterinarian, as dosing and administration can vary greatly between species and individuals.


Tapentadol can be given to dogs for faster relief of body pain in dogs. Other pain medicines suggested are Carprofen, Firocoxib, and Deracoxib.

Yes, the use of Tapentadol is advisable for dogs.

Opioids are used in veterinary medicine as an analgesic to manage body pain in animals.

Yes, Tapenatdol is a well-tolerated medicine with a lower risk of side effects, thus making it a safe pain management option for pets.


  1. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics after oral administration of tapentadol hydrochloride in dogs, avmajournals.

  2. Pharmacokinetics of oral tapentadol in cats, onlinelibrary.wiley.

  3. Thermal antinociception following oral administration of tapentadol in conscious cats, ScienceDirect. 

  4. Clinical pharmacology of tramadol and tapentadol, and their therapeutic efficacy in different models of acute and chronic pain in dogs and cats, NCBI. 

  5. Effectiveness of tapentadol hydrochloride for treatment of orthopedic pain in dogs: A pilot study, NCBI. 

  6. Pharmacokinetics of the novel atypical opioid tapentadol following oral and intravenous administration in dogs, ScienceDirect.