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Opioid use and harms associated with a sustained-release tapentadol formulation: a post-marketing surveillance study


Peacock, A and Gisev, N and Memedovic, S and Larance, B and Brown, J and Cairns, R and Buckley, N and Farrell, M and Degenhardt, L, Opioid use and harms associated with a sustained-release tapentadol formulation: a post-marketing surveillance study, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 206 Article 107697. ISSN 0376-8716 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107697


Aims: A sustained-release formulation (SRF) of tapentadol has been marketed in Australia since February 2013. This study examined tapentadol SRF extra-medical use, attractiveness for extra-medical use, and associated harms in Australia.

Methods: This post-marketing study comprises analyses of Australian community sales data (2011–2017) for eleven pharmaceutical opioids (prescription and over-the-counter codeine disaggregated); calls to three poisons information centres (covering five of the eight jurisdictions in Australia) related to pharmaceutical opioids and coded by the centres as ‘misuse’ or ‘abuse’ (2011–2017); and interviews with people who inject drugs (n = 888) recruited as part of the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) from all Australian capital cities (2017).

Results: Population-level availability of tapentadol SRF increased from market launch, comprising the sixth largest market share of all opioid unit sales, and third greatest share in oral morphine equivalent milligrams sold, in December 2017. Lifetime tapentadol SRF use among the IDRS sample (n = 888) was low (1.5%; 95%CI 0.9–2.5), with few reporting past-6 month non-prescribed use or injection. Non-fatal overdose following tapentadol use was self-reported by less than 1% (95%CI 0.1-0.8). Between 2013–2017, 1.1% (n = 25) of pharmaceutical opioid ‘misuse/abuse’ calls were related to tapentadol, and predominantly the SRF.

Conclusions: Increasing utilisation of tapentadol sustained-release formulation was observed, along with indications of extra-medical use and harms associated with use, although on a smaller scale relative to other opioids. These findings need to be interpreted in the context of the low level of exposure to tapentadol sustainedrelease formulation among the sentinel population of people who inject drugs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Tapentadol, opioid post-marketing surveillance, prescription drug diversion, overdose injecting drug use
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Peacock, A (Miss Amy Peacock)
ID Code:140109
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2020-07-27
Last Modified:2021-02-12

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