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Monitoring Options Expand for Therapeutic Agents and Drugs of Abuse


In keeping with the recent proliferation of rapid, easy-to-use diagnostic tests, many assays and collection products have entered the marketplace to help clinicians assess dosage appropriateness of therapeutic drugs and to screen for the presence of drugs of abuse. Some of these products require laboratory support while many simple test kits are suitable for point of care use by medical professionals or for, home and workplace use.

Therapeutic drug monitoring measures the serum level of a specific drug relative to its serum therapeutic rangethe concentration range where the drug has been shown to be efficacious without causing toxic effects in most people.

In the 1970s pharmacologists demonstrated improved clinical outcomes derived from monitoring blood levels of drugs that were administered to control epileptic seizures. The determination of blood levels guided dosage adjustment until optimal drug levels were achieved.

Today, therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is standard medical practice in the management of many medical conditions where the dose-concentration relationship is not reliably predicted and where untoward effects are manifest if blood level of the drug is not maintained within a therapeutic window.

Among the many drug-specific tests available are those for anticonvulsants, Digoxin, Theophylline, Lithium and tricyclic antidepressants. Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill., like several other major clinical technology firms, produces literally dozens of drug-specific assays for both therapeutic monitoring and assessment of the presence of drugs of abuse. These products are designed to coordinate with one or more of the companys laboratory analyzers, including its Aerosrt, Architect, AxSYM and TDx systems.

Drugs of Abuse

Drugs of abuse screening can help differentiate symptoms in many diseases and can insure that a patient is substance-free before undergoing medical procedures. Drug screen
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