Objective. Prescription opioid analgesics are commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain. An unintended consequence of prescribing opioid analgesics is the abuse and diversion of these medications. Tapentadol ER is a recently approved centrally acting analgesic with synergistic mechanisms of action: μ-opioid receptor agonism and inhibition of norepinephrine reuptake. We assessed the amount of diversion and related cost of obtaining tapentadol IR (Nucynta®) and tapentadol ER (Nucynta ER®) as well as other Schedule II opioid medications in street transactions in the United States using the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System. Methods. The Drug Diversion Program measures the number of cases opened by 260 drug diversion investigators in 49 states. StreetRx™ uses a crowdsourcing Website to collect the prices paid for licit or illicit drugs. Results. The population-based rates of diversion were 0.003 (tapentadol IR), 0.001 (tapentadol ER), and 1.495 (other Schedule II opioid tablets) reports per 100,000 population. The tapentadol ER rate was lower than the other Schedule II opioid tablets (P <0.001) and tapentadol IR (P=0.004). Diversion rates based on drug availability were 0.03 (tapentadol IR), 0.016 (tapentadol ER), and 0.172 (other Schedule II opioid tablets) per 1,000 prescriptions dispensed. The median street price per milligram was $0.18 (tapentadol IR), $0.10 (tapentadol ER), and $1.00 (other Schedule II opioid tablets). Discussion. Our results indicate that tapentadol ER is rarely sold illicitly in the United States. When sold illicitly, tapentadol ER costs less than other Schedule II opioid products.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Pain Medicine (United States)|
|State||Published - Aug 1 2016|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This analysis was supported by funding from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Titusville, NJ, USA. The sponsor reviewed the manuscript for proprietary information. The sponsor did not participate in the conception, execution, or reporting of the results. The authors thank Chris Menone for his help on comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.
© 2015 American Academy of Pain Medicine.
- RADARS system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine