Pain management clinics provide treatment for patients with discomfort and chronic pain. Usually, chronic pain management doctors prescribe medications for their patients so that they can recover from the effects of chronic pain.
These drugs may include synthetic opiates or opioids, sedatives, and nerve-relaxing medications. According to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 100,000 pain management clinics are in the United States.
Pain management clinics use different drug tests, especially urine drug tests (UDT), to identify excessive drug use or overdose among chronic pain patients. This article describes the types of drug tests a pain management clinic may use in administering prescriptions for their patients.
Table Of Contents:
- Type Of Drug Test Pain Management Clinics Use
- Why Do Physicians Use Urine Drug Tests (UDT) To Check Pain Management Patients?
- Urine Drug Testing Methods
- Consequences If A Pain Management Patient Fails A Urine Test
Type Of Drug Test Pain Management Clinics Use
Pain management clinics use various drug tests for patients to follow state and federal laws; urine drug screening is the most common. Many states have the same rules to prevent excessive drug use and addiction among their citizens, especially on opiates.
These laws state that physicians working at these clinics must administer drug tests on all patients who receive prescriptions for opiates or other drugs or register MMJ cards. Pain management clinics use urine tests to test for various illicit drugs.
Monitoring chronic pain patients are essential as this helps prevent the misuse of drugs that can cause addiction and overdoses. Drug testing is an excellent way of identifying these types of patients in the clinic while at the same time ensuring that they receive the treatment they need to recover.
Urine drug screening is a quick and easy way to screen patients, especially in those states that have legalized medical marijuana. In some cases, states use the drug testing results to decide whether a patient receives treatment or not.
Most pain management clinics will need patients to pass several tests at the start of their treatment and after that. The frequency with which the clinics administer the drug tests will depend on the drug of choice and the number of prescriptions a patient takes.
Pain management clinics ensure that drugs are being taken for medical reasons only and not for recreational purposes. It is vital in states where people can use marijuana and other narcotics.
But, some pain management clinics that only administer opiates will prescribe the patient a tester strip each time they take one. In such cases, these strips are available at the clinic for two weeks to ensure that the patient does not use any other drugs during this period.
Some clinics also test for other illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, although morphine is usually the primary drug that most clinics test for. It is because some patients might misuse and abuse opiates.
Why Do Physicians Use Urine Drug Tests (UDT) To Check Pain Management Patients?
- Pain management clinics test the urine sample of patients to ensure that they are not misusing or abusing drugs. As synthetic opiates provide pain relief to patients, they must use under appropriate medical supervision.
- Substance abuse can cause addiction and overdoses, and even death if not treated. Pain management clinics aim to prevent these situations from occurring by testing their patients and ensuring that they do not abuse the prescription drugs they receive.
- Pain management clinics use urine tests because they provide results quickly and accurately. It is crucial for clinics that need to check the prescribed drugs of many patients since it saves them time, money, and effort.
- Urine drug screening also helps identify many substances a patient may be taking. For example, some chronic pain patients may abuse drugs other than those prescribed by the clinic. Others may use more than one drug at a time, such as combining marijuana with prescriptions for opiates.
- UDT can identify these situations and help the clinic customize each patient's treatment plan.
Urine Drug Testing Method
There are two types of drug testing used in clinical practice. The first is an immunoassay test, the initial screening process. These tests detect illegal drugs utilizing the principle of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
This test is based on the principle that antibodies in patients' urine specimens are tested against a substance to determine whether it is present in the patient's system. If a substance is present in a patient's urine sample, then antibodies will be produced and displayed as positive results on the test.
It can be detected by looking at the reading of the test. If the test returns a negative reading, no antibodies will be produced, and a positive reading will not occur.
The main advantage of the immunoassay test is that it can detect both drugs and antibodies. It works well for most substance abuse problems, especially those involving the abuse of opiates.
Another advantage is that some substances can be detected using this test, even when they are present in small quantities. For instance, methamphetamine can be seen by an immunoassay test even when it occurs in minimal amounts.
Illicit drugs will be detected even if the clinic does not prescribe them in such cases. Unfortunately, this test is not as accurate as some other types, so it can sometimes misclassify certain substances like drugs.
Patients eating poppy seeds may also produce false-positive results on this test. So, using immunoassay tests alone in clinical practice is not recommended. That is where a confirmatory urine test comes up. The confirmatory urine drug test (UDT) is laboratory-based and employs the principles of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
The significant advantage of this type of test is that it can detect drugs and determine their concentration. It can help determine whether the drug is present in high or low quantities. It is essential to test marijuana since its concentration will differ depending on the intake method (smoking, eating, etc.).
The ability to detect a specific drug concentration in the urine specimen is important because it avoids the risk of false-positive results.
Consequences If A Pain Management Patient Fails A Urine Test
Patients who fail a urine test for drug abuse may face inevitable consequences. Sometimes, the clinic may terminate their treatment and refer them to another facility that can offer them better treatment.
In other cases, the pain management clinic may continue their treatment and try to determine why they are misusing or abusing drugs. They will also develop an alternative treatment plan in collaboration with the patient.
The pain clinic may also decide to keep the urine test results and repeat them periodically to monitor the patient's progress. These can be a great way to prevent excessive drug use and ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment.
A positive urine drug test does not necessarily mean that a patient is abusing pain management drugs. For example, some prescribed medications can create false-positive results on drug tests for opiates, including codeine, tramadol, and morphine.
Drug testing is a crucial part of the treatment process and the success of the pain management clinic. Testing is vital for patients and the pain management clinic to make informed decisions about their practice and ensure that they provide an appropriate medical service to their patients.
A urine test for drugs is one of the most common types of drug tests used by pain management clinics, despite its limitations.
The drug testing results can help a pain management clinic determine whether or not a patient is receiving treatment appropriate for their condition. Thus, the pain management clinic and the patient should take these tests seriously.
Who Is Eligible To Take These Drug Tests?
All pain management clinics will have their own rules for who is eligible to take these tests. Usually, patients on a controlled substance or who want to pursue a supervised medical detoxification program will be required to take the drug test.
Depending on their situation, those without severe addictions may not need to take the tests. In some cases, pain management clinics may only require their patients to take a drug test after they leave the clinic.
What Might Happen If The Pain Management Clinic Fails To Follow Proper Drug Testing Protocols?
A pain management clinic must follow the proper protocols for drug testing to prevent harm to its patients. A clinic not following the appropriate drug testing protocols may have severe legal and financial repercussions.
For instance, if a patient tests positive for illicit substances on one of these tests, the pain management clinic can be held responsible. It could impact the clinic's reputation and result in loss of income and patients.
It can also lead to legal cases against the clinic that may involve large settlements and high legal costs.
How Often Does Pain Management Do Drug Tests?
Most pain management clinics will do these tests every month. Other clinics with more severe drug use problems may need to test their patients every week to keep up with any changes in their drug usage patterns.
In most cases, the clinic conducts drug tests at the beginning of the treatment process or after patients have completed their detoxification period. It is also why it is common for clinics to have protocols for drug testing. The clinic may test patients at different intervals depending on the circumstances.