Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1--3

Methadone is now available in India: Is the long battle over?

Pallium Trust, Chairman, Department of Pain and Palliative Medicine, Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences, WHO Collaborating Centre for Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. M R Rajagopal
Pallium India Trust, Arumana Hospital Building, Perunthanni, Vallakkadavu, Trivandrum - 695 008, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_201_17

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Context: Morphine and fentanyl had so far been the only available opioids in India in step three of the World Health Organization analgesic ladder. Especially for those not tolerating morphine and particularly for those developing neurotoxicity, an inexpensive alternative was essential. Many years of advocacy by palliative care activists have resulted in methadone being now available for sale in India for pain management. However, the characteristic pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of methadone raise potential issues of safety. Aims: This study aimed to recommend the essential steps for ensuring availability of methadone for improved pain relief in India, while at the same time ensuring safe use. Conclusions: Two steps are suggested. Firstly, the palliative care community in India must launch an educational program on methadone freely available to all potential prescribers of this medicine. Secondly, we must advocate with drug controllers of states and union territories for making methadone available only through recognized medical institutions and for ensuring that indiscriminate sale through pharmacies is avoided.


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Online since 1st October '05
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