Tapentadol may cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first 24 to 72 hours of your treatment and any time your dose is increased. Your doctor will adjust your dose to control your pain and decrease the risk that you will experience serious breathing problems. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had slowed breathing or asthma. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take tapentadol. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema), a head injury, a brain tumor, or any condition that increases the amount of pressure in your brain. The risk that you will develop breathing problems may be higher if you are an older adult or are weakened or malnourished due to disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment: slowed breathing, long pauses between breaths, or shortness of breath.
Taking certain other medications during your treatment with tapentadol may increase the risk that you will experience breathing problems or other serious, life threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma. Tell your doctor if you are taking or plan to take any of the following medications: benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Diastat, Valium), estazolam, flurazepam, lorazepam (Ativan), and triazolam (Halcion); other narcotic pain medications; medications for mental illness or nausea; muscle relaxants; sedatives; sleeping pills; or tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the dosages of your medications and will monitor you carefully. If you take tapentadol brand name with any of these medications and you develop any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical care: unusual dizziness, lightheadedness, extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, or unresponsiveness. Be sure that your caregiver or family members know which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor or emergency medical care if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Drinking alcohol, taking prescription or nonprescription medications that contain alcohol, or using street drugs during your treatment with tapentadol increases the risk that you will experience serious, life-threatening side effects. Do not drink alcohol, take prescription or nonprescription medications that contain alcohol, or use street drugs during your treatment with tapentadol.
Do not allow anyone else to take your medication. Tapentadol may harm or cause death to other people who take your medication, especially children. Keep tapentadol in a safe place so that no one else can take it accidentally or on purpose. Be especially careful to keep tapentadol out of the reach of children. Keep track of how many tablets or extended-release tablets are left so you will know if any medication is missing. Flush any tablets or extended-release tablets that are outdated or no longer needed down the toilet so that others will not take them.
If you are taking the extended-release tablets, swallow them whole; do not chew, break, divide, crush, or dissolve them. If you swallow broken, chewed, crushed, or dissolved extended-release tablets, you may receive too much tapentadol at once instead of slowly over 12 hours. This may cause serious problems, including overdose and death.