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.
Urine drug monitoring allows physicians to monitor the presence of pain medication in a patient's system, helping them to ensure the patient receives adequate medication to provide relief, while also helping to prevent potential misuse, abuse or diversion of powerful narcotics.
Consensus Working Group members include respected practitioners and national authorities in the treatment of chronic pain: John F. Peppin, DO, FACP; Perry G. Fine, MD; Steven D. Passik, Ph.D.; and Charles Argoff, MD
The development of the recommendations was funded by Ameritox, a Baltimore-based Pain Medication Monitoring Solutions® company, which provided an unrestricted grant to the Jefferson School of Population Health.
"UDM is an indispensable component of chronic pain treatment today, yet primary care physicians and pain specialists have been practicing without the benefit of consensus or best-practice national standards," Dr. Harry Leider, Chief Medical Officer of Ameritox. "We provided this grant and then stood aside to let this distinguished panel of experts propose what made the most sense for both physicians and their patients."
Ameritox is the nation's leader in Pain Medication Monitoring Solutions®, offering specialized laboratory testing and reporting services. Ameritox's expertise and innovative science provide physicians with insights and support to enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients. Ameritox offers the most thorough pain medication monitoring lab process – Rx Guardian(SM) – with Rx Guardian CD(SM), the only pain medication screening with a proprietary normalization algorithm and a reference database of pain patients assessed for medication adherence. Patient results are compared against this database, helping physicians assess whether patients are taking their pain medications correctly. Monitoring through urine drug testing helps physicians make more informed clinical decisions and manage the risks and complexities associated with prescribing pain medications. Ameritox is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. with laboratory facilities in Midland, Texas and Greensboro, N.C. Ameritox can be found online at www.ameritox.com, on Twitter @Ameritox, or on Facebook at facebook.com/ameritox.
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