According to a new CDC study, pain reliever abuse has increased 111% in the last 5 years. Non-medical use of narcotics has skyrocketed, and physicians can be placed in the awkward situation of having to decide whether or not a patient’s pain medication use is legitimate.
Protecting the Patient
Imagine yourself waking up in pain every single day, and you are under the care of a physician prescribing you pain medication. In order to ensure compliance and place confidence in the patient-physician relationship, your doctor may necessitate a urine drug test. This will guarantee that you are taking the drugs prescribed and only those medications. If you were to stray from the prescribed from those medications, you could be placing your health at risk. Narcotic medications can have significant cross-reactions with other medications. A urine drug test ensures patient compliance with the prescribed regimen and may prevent an unnecessary adverse event.
Protecting the Doctor
Even under the most humane and disease related indications, physicians face significant risks by prescribing controlled medications. Patients may divert their prescription, take too much, combine with illicit substances, etc. These risks are mitigated by physicians subjecting patients to urine drug screening, pill counts, pain agreements, and if the state has it review of the patient on the pharmacy board’s website. The vast majority of patients are compliant, however a small few have necessitated the testing from resultant adverse events.
The Bottom Line
Pain management safeguards are necessary in this day and age to protect both the patient and provider for different reasons. The common denominator is pain relief and improved quality of life for the patient, while at the same time providing for the highest level of patient safety and minimizing the chance of prescription diversion.