Why Test and How Often?
Urine drug testing (UDT) is a useful tool in most clinical environments and specifically in pain management. Results of a UDT provide confirmation of the agreed upon treatment plan (adherence/compliance) and diagnose relapse or drug misuse as early as possible.
The question of whom or why to test is made easier by having a uniform practice policy either in a pain or primary practice that would help reduce individual stigma.
UDT is an effective tool in the assessment and ongoing management of patients who will be, or are being, treated chronically with controlled substances.
Most importantly, a healthcare professional should have a relationship of mutual honest and trust with the patient when using UDT in the clinical practice, as well as maintain open communication with the testing laboratory.
Some practices test monthly before every refill. This is to ensure medications are being taken in compliance.
The use of UDT is designed to improve patient care and to assist the healthcare professional to advocate on the patient’s behalf.