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Methadone and Pain Relief

From: Chapter 3: The Fundamentals of Methadone Maintenance Treatment, in Methadone Maintenance: A Counsellor's Guide to Treatment (© 2003).

Methadone can relieve pain and is indicated for the relief of severe chronic pain requiring the prolonged use of an opioid analgesic. It is generally reserved for situations in which other opioid pain relievers (e.g., morphine) have proven to be ineffective.


Methadone dosing for pain is different from methadone dosing for opioid dependence, and clients in MMT may have developed considerable tolerance to analgesic effects of methadone. Therefore, while on methadone, clients needing pain relief should be started on usual doses of analgesics, but they should be reassessed often because they may need higher and/or more frequent doses.