Department of Anaesthesiology and CIESAL publish study on effectiveness of methadone


Researchers from CIESAL and the School of Medicine’s Department of Anaesthesiology published a study on the effectiveness of methadone in the management postoperative of postsurgical pain after in laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

This was a randomised clinical trial conducte undertaken by anaesthesiologists Fernando Aranda and Nicolás Arriaza (the team leader) together with CIESAL researchers Jana Stojanova, Cristian Papuzinski and Eva Madrid and medical interns Matías Kirmayr and Marcelo Matta.

A randomised clinical trial was conducted in 86 patients who underwent cholecystectomy under remifentanil anaesthesia and were randomised into two groups who received to either receive methadone or morphine for pain management.

Photo: Nicolás Arriaza and Fernando Aranda.

The group of patients who received methadone had lower pain levels, required less opioid rescue medication and had less postoperative nausea compared to the patients who received morphine.

The results of this trial suggest clear advantages to the intraoperative use of methadone over morphine, as it is an attractive option for the relief postoperative pain, and  it has a dual effect on opioid receptors and a non-competitive antagonism with NMDA receptors.

This strategy reduces the need for rescue morphine medication (morphine administered according to the patient’s pain during the postsurgical period) and is associated with fewer adverse events than morphine.

This trial reports the use of methadone as an effective and safe drug for major surgery in adults. The clinical trial, which was conducted following the CONSORT protocol and Cochrane methodology in its entirety, qualifies as a trial with a very low risk of bias and no conflict of interest with the pharmaceutical industry. We hope this study is included can be of help in future systematic reviews contributing to clinical decision-making and public policy.