Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 6--9

Methadone for pain management: Past, present and future

Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Oncology and Family Medicine, Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Srini Chary
Suite 710, South Tower, 3031 Hospital Drive, Calgary, Alberta T2N 2T8
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_173_17

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Methadone for pain management in this article describes briefly pain, methadone as a Level 3 World Health Organization ladder opioid in the context of India and rest of the world, as well as the relationship to past, present, and future possibilities of pain management. Acute pain is proportional to the injury most of the times, and such proportionality may not exist in chronic pain. Pain management over decades has changed because of knowledge and availability of molecules and compounds to reduce chronic pain. Naturally occurring opioids from “poppy” such as morphine and heroin were available through cultivation and trade for pain management and recreational use in different parts of the world for centuries. Methadone has been a synthetic molecule discovered in the 1930s in Germany. It has been used for harm reduction for opioid use disorder in the form of “methadone maintenance treatment”. This program exists since the 1950s while pain management started around the late 1970s in Europe and North America. More recently, the knowledge of acute and chronic pain at a molecular level, including ion channel modification, allowed the use of coanalgesics and opioids prudently. The concept of “total pain, neuroplasticity, and neurotransmitters” how they could be modified for better pain management with pharmaceuticals and nonpharmacological methods are being investigated, and evidence is being practiced clinically. In the present context, education for physicians, allied health professionals, patients, and family caregivers is important. Education to the physicians can skill and capacity build in the community and can be associated with educational research and peer-reviewed publications. The future remains promising, as innovations such as pharmacogenomics, nanotechnology, molecular, and quantum biology may create evidence, along with physical and psychological rehabilitation, to prevent and holistically better pain management.


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Online since 1st October '05
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