Oral methadone for chronic noncancer pain: a systematic literature review of reasons for administration, prescription patterns, effectiveness, and side effects

Title

Oral methadone for chronic noncancer pain: a systematic literature review of reasons for administration, prescription patterns, effectiveness, and side effects

Creator

Sandoval JA; Furlan AD; Mailis-Gagnon A

Publisher

The Clinical Journal Of Pain

Date

2005

Subject

Female; Humans; Male; Pain Measurement; Methadone; Drug Administration Schedule; Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support; Comparative Study; Chronic disease; Administration; Oral; Dose-Response Relationship; Drug; Methadone/administration & dosage/adverse effects; Narcotics/administration & dosage/adverse effects; Pain/classification/drug therapy; Literature review

Description

OBJECTIVE: To assess the indications, prescription patterns, effectiveness, and side effects of oral methadone for the treatment of chronic noncancer pain. METHODS: We conducted searches of several electronic databases, textbooks and reference lists for controlled or uncontrolled studies in humans. Effectiveness was assessed using a dichotomous classification of "meaningful" versus "nonmeaningful" outcomes. RESULTS: Twenty-one papers (1 small randomized trial, 13 case reports, and 7 case series) involving 545 patients with multiple noncancer pain conditions were included. In half of the patients, no specific diagnosis was reported. Methadone was administered primarily when previous opioid treatment was ineffective or produced intolerable side effects. Starting dose ranged from 0.2 to 80 mg/day and maximum dose ranged from 20 to 930 mg/day. Pain outcomes were meaningful in 59% of the patients in the uncontrolled studies. The randomized trial demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in pain for methadone (20 mg/day) compared to placebo. Side effects were considered minor. DISCUSSION: Oral methadone is used for various noncancer pain syndromes, at different settings and with no prescription pattern that could be identifiable. Starting, maintenance, and maximum doses showed great variability. The figure of 59% effectiveness of methadone should be interpreted very cautiously, as it seems overrated due to the poor quality of the uncontrolled studies and their tendency to report positive results. The utilization of oral methadone for noncancer pain is based on primarily uncontrolled literature. Well-designed controlled trials may provide more accurate information on the drug's efficiency in pain syndromes and in particular neuropathic pain.
2005

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

503-512

Issue

6

Volume

21

Citation

Sandoval JA; Furlan AD; Mailis-Gagnon A, “Oral methadone for chronic noncancer pain: a systematic literature review of reasons for administration, prescription patterns, effectiveness, and side effects,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed January 19, 2022, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/13517.

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