Serving Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Snohomish Counties
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Palliative Pearl:

Methadone…worth the trouble.

June 2020 – Methadone…worth the trouble.

Don’t write off methadone as a pain medication – it may be life changing for your palliative patients. A few reasons why:

  1. Methadone is the only long-acting opioid that comes in a liquid.

For patients unable to swallow, sublingual absorption provides effective pain relief.

  • Methadone is the only opioid with significant effect on neuropathic pain.

                Neuropathy, cancer pain and visceral pain are good indications.

  • Methadone can be given in very small doses to limit the side effects.

Often, a dose of 2.5 mg at night can help frail elders with their constant daily pain.

  • Methadone is both less constipating and less sedating than other opioids.

                But these side effects should be monitored.

If you aren’t a frequent methadone prescriber, don’t go it alone. There are dosing, drug interaction, Q-T prolongation, and conversion challenges with methadone.   We are happy to help you consider and calculate a methadone dose for your palliative patients.

For more information contact Dr. Leslie Estep or Dr. Anita Meyer at Hospice of the Northwest, 360-814-5550, or lestep@hospicenw.org  or  ameyer@hospicenw.org

About Hospice of the Northwest

Hospice of the Northwest is a skilled, caring and compassionate team of nursing, medical, social and spiritual professionals, volunteers and generous donors. Together, we provide comprehensive care and comfort for patients facing serious illness and the loved ones who care for them. We’ve been serving the residents of Skagit, Island, San Juan and Snohomish Counties since 1989.

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