The most recent issue of Pain Pathways magazine (Summer 2012) covered the recommendations for patients on long-term opioid therapy. The original article may be found by reading below.
“Medication monitoring such as urine drug screening helps physicians stanch the growing number of prescription painkiller overdoses. In a report late last year, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that the number of annual overdoses from narcotic pain relievers such as Vicodin, oxycontin, Opana, and methadone are at more than 20,000. The CDC has called this a “public health epidemic”.
Ameritox, a national leader in pain medication monitoring, has provided an unrestricted grant to the Jefferson School of Population Health for the development of consensus recommendations for patients on long-term opioid therapy.
Recommendations seek to bring uniformity to the use of pain medication monitoring, a tool that many physicians use to aid treatment decisions for patients on chronic opioid therapy. The recommendations also spell out how a physician treating chronic pain patients can determine which patients to test, how frequently to monitor and what clinicians should do in response to abnormal test results. For instance, the consensus calls for drug monitoring a patient with medium to high risk of misuse at least four times a year.
The consensus recommendations could help improve adherence and reduce misuse, abuse, and diversion of powerful painkillers.”