Rectal methadone in cancer patients with pain: A preliminary clinical and pharmacokinetic study

C. Ripamonti, E. Zecca, C. Brunelli, E. Rizzio, L. Saita, F. Lodi, F. De Conno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Cancer pain can be treated in most cases with oral analgesics. However, during their clinical history, 53% to 70% of patients will need alternative routes of opioid administration. The rectal administration of opioids is a simple alternative route for many patients. There are no data in the literature regarding the pharmacodynamics and pharmaco-kinetics of rectal methadonePatients and methods: We evaluated the analgesia, toler-ability and absorption profile of methadone hydrochloride in six opioid-naive cancer patients with pain. A blood sample was collected before administration of a single dose of drug (10 mg) and then again after fixed times. At these fixed times the patients were asked about pain, nausea and drowsiness by means of a visual analogue scale of 0-100 mm (VAS)Results: Pain relief was statistically significant as early as 30 minutes and up to eight hours after methadone administration. None of the patients reported significant side effects. The parmacokinetics of rectal methadone showed rapid and extensive distribution phases followed by a slow elimination phaseConclusions: Rectal methadone can be considered an effective analgesic therapy for patients with cancer pain for whom oral and/or parenteral opioids are not indicated or available

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-843
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1995


  • Cancer
  • Methadone hydrochloride
  • Pain
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Rectal route

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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