Pharmacokinetics, safety, and efficacy of tapentadol oral solution for treating moderate to severe pain in pediatric patients

J Pain Res. 2019 May 31;12:1777-1790. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S197039. eCollection 2019.


Background: This trial is part of the global pediatric clinical development program investigating the administration of the strong analgesic tapentadol in children and adolescents. Patients and methods: The single site, open-label phase 2 trial evaluated the pharmacokinetic profile of tapentadol and its major metabolite, tapentadol-O-glucuronide, as well as safety and tolerability and efficacy of a single dose of tapentadol oral solution (1 mg/kg) in patients (2 to <18 years) undergoing dental, ear, nose, or throat surgery. Blood sampling and pain intensity measurements were conducted using age-appropriate schedules and rating scales, respectively. Adverse events were monitored throughout the trial. Results: Sixty-six patients were treated. They were stratified by age: Group 1 (12 to <18 years), n=21; Group 2 (6 to <12 years), n=28; and Groups 3 (3 to <6 years) and 4 (2 to <3 years), n=17. Serum tapentadol concentrations observed in these pediatric patients were within the range observed in adults after administration of a single tapentadol immediate-release dose (50-100 mg), whereas those of the metabolite tapentadol-O-glucuronide were within the same range or lower than in adults who received comparable single doses of tapentadol. Pain intensity improved over time across all age groups. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events were nausea (24.2%), vomiting (16.7%), dizziness (9.1%), and headache (6.1%). Conclusion: A single dose of tapentadol oral solution (1 mg/kg) administered to pediatric patients (2 to <18 years) resulted in serum tapentadol concentrations within the targeted range shown to be safe and efficacious in adults. Tapentadol demonstrated good tolerability and safety; within the limitations of the trial design, improvements in postsurgical pain intensity were observed across the age groups. Tapentadol may provide a new treatment option in the management of moderate to severe pediatric pain.

Keywords: analgesics; moderate to severe pain; opioid receptors; pediatric pain management; tapentadol.