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, NMDA receptors, methadone, morphine


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.

Author Biographies

Rosemarie Mannino, MD

Fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia.

Patrick Coyne, MSN, APRN

Clinical Director, Thomas Palliative Care Services, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems, Richmond, Virginia.

Craig Swainey, MD

Fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia.

Lea Ann Hansen, PharmD

Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, Richmond, Virginia.

Laurie Lyckholm, MD

Associate Professor, Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia.


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How to Cite

Mannino, MD, R., P. Coyne, MSN, APRN, C. Swainey, MD, L. A. Hansen, PharmD, and L. Lyckholm, MD. “Methadone for Cancer-Related Neuropathic Pain: A Review of the Literature”. Journal of Opioid Management, vol. 2, no. 5, Sept. 2006, pp. 269-76, doi:10.5055/jom.2006.0040.