Safety aspects of opioid-naïve patients with high-grade glioma treated with D,L-Methadone: an observational case series


It was suggested that D, L-Methadone might improve the clinical course of glioma patients. Owing to massive press coverage, patients demand the prescription of D, L-Methadone, but regarding its adjunctive use in glioma therapy there is no standard medication plan. Furthermore, it is not known which side effects the administration of D, L-Methadone might harbor, especially if the patients are opioid-naïve and if D, L-Methadone therapy was managed by the patients themselves or their general practitioners. Opioid-naïve patients with high-grade glioma (new diagnosis or recurrent) receiving D, L-Methadone were included in this retrospective observational analysis. Side effects were assigned if the condition deteriorated in conjunction with the initiation of D, L-Methadone and resolved/ ameliorated after cessation of the intake/reduction of the dosage. Side effects were categorized according to the common toxicity criteria (CTC). Twenty-four patients were included. All patients were opioid-naïve and received D, L-Methadone from their general practitioners. Sixteen patients experienced side effects. The median dosage when side effects began to occur was 15.8 mg/ 24 h. Fatigue and mood changes were reported most frequently (14 of 24 patients). Five patients had severe side effects related to relatively high doses. In all cases, symptoms resolved after cessation or dose reduction. Our results show that D/L M intake lead to frequent occurrence of side effects in opioid-naïve patients especially when not handled with caution and close supervision. Patients, their relatives, their GPs and neuro-oncologists need to be informed about the broad spectrum of side effects in order to thoroughly counsel glioma patients.

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Correspondence to Christian von der Brelie.

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This study was not funded. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This study was approved by the institutional review board, ethical approval was obtained. Informed consent was not achieved since this was a retrospective observational study.

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von der Brelie, C., Schatlo, B., Bettag, C. et al. Safety aspects of opioid-naïve patients with high-grade glioma treated with D,L-Methadone: an observational case series. Neurosurg Rev 44, 579–586 (2021).

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  • High-grade glioma
  • Methadone
  • Treatment