Methadone is a drug that has found widespread utility in the management of opioid addiction and pain. Along with its popularity, methadone has also earned an infamous reputation for causing prolongation of the QT interval and an increased risk of torsades de pointes. In this article we will give a brief overview of the long QT syndromes, followed by an in-depth look at the current pathophysiologic mechanisms of methadone induced QT prolongation, a review of the existing literature and the current concepts regarding the prevention and management of methadone induced torsades de pointes. In addition, we explore the idea and implications of a genetic link between methadone induced prolongation of the QT interval and torsades de pointes.
Key words:Methadone, Pharmacogenetics, QT-prolongation, Torsades de pointes.