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Switching From Morphine to Methadone. A Clinical, Pharmacological and Pharmacogenetic Study

Information source: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Cancer

Intervention: Methadone (Drug)

Phase: Phase 3

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Stein Kaasa, MD,PhD Prof., Principal Investigator, Affiliation: St Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim


Cancer patients on morphine for chronic pain, with side effects or unsatisfactory pain relief, will be rotated to Methadone. We will try to find out what is the best methode to rotate, and the equivalent dosage.

Clinical Details

Official title: Switching From Morphine to Methadone. A Clinical, Pharmacological and Pharmacogenetic Study

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: The overall aim of the present study is to validate the switching procedure from morphine to methadone for patients with advanced cancer and a short life expectancy. More specifically, we will:

Secondary outcome:

Collect blood samples for present and future genetic analyses in order to explore inter individual variations in methadone and morphine doses based upon possible polymorphisms.

Compare the QT-intervals on electrocardiograms obtained before and after start with methadone.

Detailed description: This study is based on the clinical observation that patients who are not well controlled on morphine or oxycodone may benefit from switching to another opioid, in this case methadone. Although the mechanism for such switch is not completely understood, evidence indicates that opioids with different chemical structures have different characteristics, not least in relation to new knowledge about genetic variation in opioid receptors. Another challenge is that there is much uncertainty regarding equianalgesic dose ratios for morphine and methadone. It seems that the higher the morphine doses, the relatively lower methadone doses are needed to substitute morphine. Furthermore, there is uncertainty to which switching procedures one should use, the most common ones are "stop and go" and a three days switch. Finally, it is reported that methadone may increase the QT interval of the ECG, and thus increase the risk for the ventricular arrhythmia Torsade de pointe. The aim of this randomized, open label, multicenter study is primarily to compare the switching procedures, but it will also provide more knowledge about equianalgesic dose ratios, the effect of methadone on the QT interval, genetical factors that may characterize patients needing opioid switch as well as their response to it, and finally if pharmacokinetic factors plays a role.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- • Malignant disease.

- On morphine and in need of opioid rotation. (A patient in need of opioid

rotation is defined as having insufficient pain control with or without unacceptable side effects from opioids).

- Able to complete the planned assessment schedules.

- Above 18 years of age.

- If out-patient, the patient lives with someone who can observe him/her.

- Given informed consent according to the ethical guidelines.

Exclusion Criteria:

- Not able to read or write in Norwegian

- The patient has participated in a clinical study 4 weeks prior to inclusion

Locations and Contacts

St Olavs Hospital, Trondheim 7006, Norway
Additional Information

Starting date: August 2004
Last updated: February 27, 2014

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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