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On its own, alcohol can produce various dangerous side effects, but it can also enhance the side effects of other drugs in unpredictable ways. Oftentimes, mixing alcohol with other drugs is so dangerous that doctors will advise their patients to avoid drinking completely for the duration of their treatment. The same is true for opioid medications like tapentadol. Below is more information on the side effects of mixing tapentadol and alcohol.  

What Is Tapentadol (Nucynta)? 

Tapentadol is an opioid analgesic (or narcotic) that’s prescribed to treat pain severe enough to require opioid treatment or when other pain medications have been ineffective in treating the individual’s symptoms or could not be tolerated. Tapentadol is prescribed under the brand names Nucynta and Nucynta ER, the latter of which refers to the extended-release formulation of the drug.  Depending on the individual, tapentadol may be prescribed as an oral solution or tablet. Nucynta is the short-acting version of the drug that kicks in quicker and lasts a shorter amount of time, while Nucynta ER is the long-acting version of the drug that lasts for 12 to 14 hours and is therefore only taken once daily.   People should not take tapentadol once in a while or “as needed.” Rather it should only be used as often and according to the doses prescribed by a doctor. Tapentadol can be addictive or habit-forming if misused, so it’s important to stick with the prescribing doctor’s plan when taking the medication. 

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Nucynta? 

While tapentadol produces fewer and less severe side effects compared to other opioids, it can lead to dangerous side effects if misused, such as being taken in higher doses than prescribed or combined with alcohol. Combining tapentadol and alcohol is one of the main things that doctors advise patients against.   When taken alone, opioids can lead to drowsiness, sedation, slurred speech, and even respiratory problems because of the impact they have on the chemical noradrenaline. Noradrenaline stimulates energy, heart rate, breathing, and other functions.  Alcohol also produces a drowsy and sedative effect on the central nervous system (CNS) by targeting a chemical called GABA, which inhibits nerve cell communication in the brain. Therefore, when someone takes Nucynta and alcohol together, they may experience elevated side effects of sedation, drowsiness, and respiratory depression, which can be fatal without medical support.   

Common side effects of mixing tapentadol with alcohol include:  
        • Abnormal behavior 
        • Slowed heart rate  
        • Changes in blood pressure 
        • Dehydration 
        • Dizziness or loss of coordination 
        • Drowsiness 
        • Sedation 
        • Impaired judgment and confusion 
        • Irregular heart rate and rhythm 
        • Loss of consciousness 
        • Nausea and/or vomiting 
        • Respiratory arrest or depression 
        • Coma
If you notice any signs of a tapentadol-alcohol interaction, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you or someone you know frequently mixes opioids and alcohol, our Christian drug rehabilitation center offers medically assisted detox and addiction treatment that can help you get clean. 

Tapentadol-Alcohol Death: Is It Possible? 

A tapentadol and alcohol interaction can be fatal. This type of overdose has been on the rise due to an increase in opioid drug addictions throughout the U.S.  Since the start of the opioid epidemic in the late 1990s, more and more people have become addicted to drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and heroin, which they often abuse by taking with alcohol. That said, even if an individual takes a painkiller as prescribed, they should still avoid drinking alcohol as it could lead to a negative and potentially fatal reaction.  

Tapentadol and Alcohol Addiction Treatment  

For those who are struggling with opioid and alcohol abuse, help is available.  Our Christian residential drug rehab offers both opioid and alcohol addiction treatment programs that cater to the individual’s needs as well as the impact of the substance in question. For more information about our addiction services, call Faith in Recovery today at 888-280-4763.     Related Reading:   Understanding Opioid Addiction  Antidepressants and Alcohol: The Fatal Cocktail