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February 21, 1996

Methadone for Treatment of Cancer Pain

Author Affiliations

Hematology and Oncology Associates, LLC Greenville, SC

JAMA. 1996;275(7):519. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530310025022

To the Editor.  —In his Commentary,1 Dr Dole endorsed the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine2 that the Drug Enforcement Administration should decrease the special restrictions on the prescription of methadone and treat this agent more like other Schedule II drugs. His reasons dealt with improving treatment services for narcotic addiction. However, there is another compelling reason to decrease regulation of and increase access to methadone by treating it like other Schedule II narcotics. Methadone is an effective, long-acting, and inexpensive narcotic analgesic useful in the treatment of chronic cancer pain and is less expensive than the long-acting narcotics widely used in the control of cancer pain in the United States today.Based on the average wholesale price3 of methadone, the cost of 10 mg taken orally every 12 hours is $0.25 per day and $7.50 a month. Based on the average wholesale price,3 the cost