Treating Hospitalized Children in Severe Pain with Oral Methadone
Yoram Shir, Victor Shvelzon, Gila Rosen
Pain Treatment Service, Dept. of Anesthesiology, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem
Pain relief is usually inadequate in hospitalized patients, especially in children, either after surgery or with various medical conditions. Among other reasons, this is due to suboptimal use of available analgesic drugs. In the past 2 years oral methadone has become our opioid of choice for severe pain in hospitalized children who can take oral medication. More than 70 babies and children, aged 8 months to 9 years, who suffered mainly from pain due to burns or cancer, were treated by the in-hospital pain service. They received 0.1% methadone syrup, 0.2-0.4 mg/kg/day, for from a few days to more than a month. In most there was significant pain relief with no serious side-effects. In some, treatment could be changed to parent-controlled analgesia after a few days, with no adverse effects. We describe 5 of the children who present the advantages of oral methadone over other opioids.