Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices of Pediatric Palliative Care Physicians Regarding the Use of Methadone in Children with Advanced Cancer

Title

Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices of Pediatric Palliative Care Physicians Regarding the Use of Methadone in Children with Advanced Cancer

Creator

Madden K; Liu D; Bruera E

Publisher

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Date

2018

Subject

Pediatrics; Pain Management; Methadone; Pediatric Palliative Care; Pediatric Oncology

Description

CONTEXT: Methadone is a long-acting opioid known for its unique pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. Most research on methadone in children is limited to its effect on the prolongation of the corrected QT (QTc) interval. OBJECTIVES: To better understand the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of pediatric palliative care physicians regarding the use of methadone in children with advanced cancer. METHODS: A survey was sent to The American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Hospice and Palliative Medicine LISTSERV(R). Information on demographics, dosing of methadone, and the use of electrocardiograms (ECGs) was collected. RESULTS: One-hundred and five respondents (91%) provide palliative care to children >/= 50% of the time, and a majority (81, 77%) prescribe methadone. Most (62, 77%) physicians were board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and most (39, 63%) certified via the direct pathway ("grandfathering"). Most physicians (57, 70%) do not use loading doses of methadone. Board-certified physicians trended towards decreasing methadone dose more (40% +/- 19%) than non-board-certified physicians (28%, +/-20%) when changing from the oral to intravenous route (p = 0.07). Respondents defined a QTc interval as "prolonged" (mean +/- SD) at 444 milliseconds (+/-68 milliseconds). The percentage of patients receiving a baseline ECG was 65% (+/-33%). The most common reason for not performing a baseline ECG was that the patient was on hospice (13, 36%). CONCLUSIONS: There are consistent practices, attitudes, and beliefs of pediatric palliative care providers with regards to methadone. More education is needed on the accurate value of a prolonged QTc interval.

Citation List Month

Oncology 2018 List

Collection

Citation

Madden K; Liu D; Bruera E, “Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices of Pediatric Palliative Care Physicians Regarding the Use of Methadone in Children with Advanced Cancer,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 23, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/16072.

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