Pharmacology Update: Tapentadol for Neuropathic Pain

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Neuropathic pain in a common problem encountered in palliative care. When neuropathic pain is diagnosed, appropriate treatment is important in limiting the severe psychosocial impairment that can ensue with undertreated pain. Proper evaluation of the patient to clarify the type of pain experienced is the first step to determine appropriate management. Tapentadol is an oral mu-opioid receptor agonist and a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor developed by Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceuticals and approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 2008 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acute pain in adult patients and for chronic pain in August 2011 in an extended release form. Tapentadol has been studied for use in nociceptive pain but few studies have yet been done to assess its efficacy in the treatment of neuropathic pain.