Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2005 May-Jun;22(3):223-7.

Methadone for cancer pain: what have we learned from clinical studies?

Author information

Pain Clinic, National Cancer Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The analgesic ladder guideline proposed by the World Health Organization has been shown to be effective in controlling cancer pain in about 80 percent of patients, but the remaining 20 percent still experience pain. Several strategies have been used to manage refractory cancer pain and opioid toxicity. Switching opioids, alternative routes of opioid administration, optimizing adjuvants, and invasive procedures are proposed treatments. Extensive medical literature corroborates each one of those treatments. Rotation from one opioid to another is a noninvasive strategy to overcome opioid side effects and refractory pain. Frequently, methadone is used during opioid rotation. However, there is a lack of consensus on how to proceed on rotation from morphine to methadone. In the current era of evidence-based medicine, the medical literature fails to answer some cancer pain-management issues. The purpose of this review is to clarify a process for transitioning from morphine to methadone.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center