BALTIMORE, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameritox(SM), the nation's leader in pain medication monitoring, commends the expert authors of "Recommendations For Urine Drug Monitoring For Patients On Long-Term Opioid Therapy," unveiled Friday evening in a poster session at the American Academy of Pain Medicine's (AAPM) 28th Annual Meeting in Palm Springs, California. The expert consensus recommendations seek to answer key questions that physicians may have about medication monitoring for patients prescribed powerful painkillers for extended periods.
The recommendations are an effort 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. Medication monitoring is an important means to help physicians staunch the growing number of prescription painkiller overdoses. In a report late last year, the Centers for Disease Control put the number of annual overdoses from narcotic pain relievers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, Opana and methadone at more than 20,000. The CDC called it a "public health epidemic."
"Advances in lab-based technology like urine drug monitoring, or UDM, represent critical tools that inform and support clinical decision making," said Joseph E. Couto, PharmD, MBA, of the Jefferson School of Population Health in Philadelphia and leader of the panel discussions. "These consensus recommendations are intended to provide guidance around the appropriate use of UDM in clinical practice – and we hope they will lead to the eventual development of formal guidelines."
The recommendations 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.
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