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Switching a baby from IV levomethadone to IV fentanyl

Hans Ulrich Bender, MD, Hans-Georg Muench, MD, Claudia Franziska Nussbaum, MD


Methadone, or in Germany levomethadone, may be used for the treatment of iatrogenic opioid withdrawal syndrome in pediatric intensive care units. The limited literature on opioid rotation in children does not provide data for the switch from methadone to another opioid. We report switching a very ill preterm baby in an unstable condition from IV levomethadone to IV fentanyl identifying a possible conversion ratio of 6.0-4.5:1 emphasizing critical steps as equipotency appropriate for neonates and dose reduction for incomplete cross-tolerance. If clinical deterioration occurs in infants on opioid tapering with levomethadone, we hope that our observations may be helpful.


child, opioid rotation, levomethadone, fentanyl, neonatal intensive care

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