Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 495--499

Breaking the barrier: Challenges of methadone use – An introductory observation


1 Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, Dr. BRA IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Anaesthesia, ABVIMS and Dr. RML Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Prashant Sirohiya
Department of Anaesthesia, ABVIMS and Dr. RML Hospital, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_9_20

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Background: Palliative care physicians in India have achieved access to methadone for pain relief in cancer patients. Despite being an effective drug in terms of analgesia, there are a number of reasons why this opioid medication is not as much as popular as morphine. We identified and tried to overcome a few such barriers in treating cancer pain with methadone. Methods: The clinical information of ten adult cancer patients (six males and four females), who voluntarily received methadone for their severe pain in the month of August 2019 were analysed retrospectively. We converted morphine to methadone in all ten patients under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. Results: During the methadone therapy, eight out of ten patients who were given methadone exclusively for their pain had adequate pain relief initially. The barriers identified included difficult titration methods due to distinct pharmacology, patient selection, clinical inertia, communication and co-ordination among physicians, communication among patient and physician, and patient and caregivers, and vigilant monitoring. Conclusion: Methadone is still finding its place in India for cancer pain management. As the drug is new to Indian practitioners, we have to overcome these barriers and facilitate its judicious use in cancer pain management.






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