Tapentadol Prolonged Release: A Review in Pain Management
Tapentadol prolonged release (tapentadol PR) [Palexia® SR in EU] is a long-acting tablet formulation of the strong central analgesic tapentadol, which acts as both a μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonist and a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor. Tapentadol PR is approved for chronic pain in various countries, with its EU indication (severe chronic pain manageable only with opioid analgesics) being the focus here. Well-designed trials and clinical practice data support tapentadol PR use in this setting. Short term, tapentadol PR was an effective and generally well tolerated analgesic for moderate to severe pain of varying aetiologies, including neuropathic pain. It provided analgesia at least as good as that of conventional strong opioids and appeared more favourable in terms of gastrointestinal tolerability, likely due to less potent MOR binding. Severe back pain with a neuropathic component responded well to moderate-dose tapentadol PR in some patients, while for others, an increase to the maximum recommended tapentadol PR dosage provided analgesia at least as good as that of moderate-dose tapentadol PR plus pregabalin and appeared to have some CNS tolerability benefits. Data also support the use of tapentadol PR in opioid rotation, including when conventional opioids are intolerable. Longer-term data in musculoskeletal pain conditions indicate continued benefit over up to 2 years’ treatment with tapentadol PR with no evidence of tolerance. Thus, tapentadol PR is a useful option for the management of severe chronic pain.
During the peer review process, the manufacturer of tapentadol PR was also offered the opportunity to review this article. Changes resulting from comments received were made on the basis of scientific and editorial merit.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The preparation of this review was not supported by any external funding.
Conflicts of interest
Emma Deeks is a salaried employee of Adis/Springer, is responsible for the article content and declares no relevant conflicts of interest.
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