Methadone for cancer-related neuropathic pain: A review of the literature

Rosemarie Mannino, MD, Patrick Coyne, MSN, APRN, Craig Swainey, MD, Lea Ann Hansen, PharmD, Laurie Lyckholm, MD


Neuropathic pain is commonly seen in cancer patients, either as a direct result of the malignancy or as a consequence of the treatment rendered. In recent years, methadone has been utilized in the treatment of neuropathic pain because of its additional mechanism of action as an NMDA-receptor antagonist. In this paper we discuss the etiology of neuropathic pain in cancer patients, unique properties of methadone, and prior studies on methadone in this patient population. While methadone has been established as a cheap and effective agent in treating cancer pain, specific studies are needed comparing methadone to other opioids in the management of cancer-related neuropathic pain.


neuropathic pain, NMDA receptors, methadone, morphine

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