What is tapentadol?


Tapentadol is a centrally acting atypical opioid analgesic with dual mechanisms of action: mu-opioid receptor agonism and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. It is used to treat moderate to severe acute pain, as well as chronic pain and neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Historical context

Tapentadol was first developed by German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH in the early 2000s. It gained FDA approval in the United States in 2008 as a Schedule II controlled substance, indicating its potential for abuse and dependence. Tapentadol has been used for pain management since its introduction and is considered to have a lower risk of certain side effects, such as constipation and respiratory depression, compared to traditional opioids.

Medical formulations

Tapentadol is available in immediate-release and extended-release oral tablets (e.g., Nucynta®️, Nucynta ER®️, Palexia®️).

How long does tapentadol stay in your system?

Tapentadol has a half-life of around 4 to 6 hours. It takes roughly 20 to 30 hours for the drug to be completely eliminated from the body.

Street names

Tappy, Nucy, Orange Dots


Tapentadol pills are typically round or oblong and come in various colors, such as white, orange, or yellow, depending on the formulation and dosage. They may be imprinted with the dosage and the manufacturer's logo.

Common pills

  • Round, orange pill with "N 50" imprinted on one side (50 mg immediate-release tablet, Nucynta®️)
  • Round, yellow pill with "N 100" imprinted on one side (100 mg immediate-release tablet, Nucynta®️)
  • Oblong, white pill with "P 50" imprinted on one side (50 mg immediate-release tablet, Palexia®️)

Warning: Consuming illicit drugs, including pressed pills, may result in unintended fentanyl exposure, leading to potentially fatal consequences. Exercise caution and consider using fentanyl testing strips to identify the presence of this dangerous substance in street drugs.

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