BALTIMORE, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report issued today by Ameritox, the nation's leader in pain medication monitoring, revealed that more than one-third (35.9 percent) of samples collected from patients prescribed opioid medications for chronic pain management last year did not contain their prescribed drug, an increase from the 31 percent found in similar research released in October 2010.
In both the 2010 and 2012 surveys, Ameritox analyzed samples from more than half a million patients collected over a twelve-month period. The samples used in the 2012 report came from approximately 527,000 individual patients from all 50 states.
"It appears that the epidemic of prescription pain medication abuse is worsening," said Ameritox Chief Executive Scott Walton. "Medication monitoring helps doctors discern medication use, but monitoring alone won't solve the problem. The front line in the battle against pain medication abuse and addiction is at the clinical level, and we will be vigilant in equipping doctors with the best possible tools to face this challenge head on."
Kathryn Bronstein, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Ameritox, said that the data underscores the importance of medication monitoring. "There is no doubt that pain medication is critical to the care millions of individuals receive across the country. For many people living with chronic pain, these medicines are the only option for relief of their symptoms. But they must be used correctly to be used safely."
This most recent survey showed that the District of Columbia (47.8 percent), Michigan (45.8 percent), Georgia (45.8 percent), South Carolina (45.7 percent) and Missouri (44.1 percent) had the highest percentage of tests that failed to show the prescribed medication. Minnesota (3 percent), Vermont (14.9 percent) and Maine (16.5 percent) reported the lowest percentages. The complete findings from states with more than 1,000 tests are available at ameritox.com/nationalreport.
In addition to monitoring use of prescribed medications, Ameritox also screens for the presence of other drugs. Nearly one-third (32.3 percent) of the tests detected substances not prescribed by the attending physician, an increase from the 29 percent found in 2010. In both surveys, 11 percent of all samples contained an illicit drug, primarily marijuana. A significant number of tests also found cocaine. Ameritox's research has shown that users of illicit drugs are more likely than non-users to be potentially non-adherent to their prescription drug regimen.
"Consistent, appropriate monitoring for the presence of prescribed, non-prescribed and illicit drugs not only enables doctors to provide better care, but can also help reduce misuse, abuse and diversion," Walton said. "We hope that medication monitoring results can spark a conversation between a doctor and patient. We believe these conversations will lead to the improved health and wellbeing of the patient."
Ameritox is the nation's leader in Pain Medication Monitoring SolutionsSM, offering specialized laboratory testing and reporting services. Ameritox's expertise and innovative science provide physicians with the information and support they need to enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients. Monitoring through prescription drug testing can help physicians make more informed clinical decisions while also helping to reduce the possible risk of misuse, abuse or diversion of powerful medications. Ameritox is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. with laboratory facilities in Midland, Texas and Greensboro, N.C. Ameritox can be found online at http://www.ameritox.com, on Twitter @Ameritox, on Facebook at facebook.com/ameritox, and on YouTube at youtube.com/ameritox.
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