The rediscovery of methadone for cancer pain management

Med J Aust. 2000 Nov 20;173(10):536-40.


Methadone is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic best known in Australia as maintenance therapy for narcotic addicts. Acceptance of methadone in cancer pain management is limited by a poor understanding of its pharmacokinetics and confusion about dosage. Many opioid conversion charts underestimate the potency of methadone, resulting in the risk of toxicity. Methadone is a valuable addition to the armamentarium of clinicians treating severe cancer pain, particularly neuropathic pain, that is poorly responsive to opioids or where opioid side effects are unacceptable.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms*
  • Pain, Intractable / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Methadone