Helping you stay current in drug monitoring




Led by Synthetic Opioids, Drug Overdose Deaths Climbed Through 2017. Have They Reached a Plateau?

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that deaths due to drug overdoses climbed from 2015 through the end of 2017, but preliminary data suggest the annual death rate may have reached a plateau.

According to the data, total drug overdose deaths were approximately…

Jan 17, 2019

New to Prescribing Opioids? What You Need to Know to Keep Your Patients Safe

For patients with chronic pain, opioid medications can offer an important treatment option. If you are a clinician who is new to prescribing opioids, there are several important resources and best practices that can help keep your patients safe and properly treated while receiving opioids.

Centers for Disease Control Guideline…

Oct 26, 2018

2018 Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ report now available

Drug Misuse in America 2018, a Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ report, presents findings from analysis of more than 3.9 million de-identified aggregated clinical drug monitoring tests performed by Quest Diagnostics for patients in all 50 states and D.C. between 2011 and 2017. To our knowledge, this report is the largest…

Sep 07, 2018

Can mandatory consultation of a state PDMP reduce overdose morbidity? Maybe.

Every state now has a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) in place to record prescriptions of controlled substances, but they vary widely in the information they collect and whether and how physicians must consult the database. Beginning in 2013, New York instituted mandatory consultation for physicians: before they prescribe an…

Nov 15, 2017

Opioids and Benzodiazepines: A Dangerous, and Common, Combination

More than a quarter of patients being tested for either prescribed opioids or prescribed benzodiazepines tested positive for both drugs, according to a new study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

“Our findings far exceed previous estimates of combining opiates and benzodiazepines based on prescribing databases alone, suggesting existing prescription…

Nov 13, 2017

Number of Opioids Prescribed Has Fallen Since 2010

The quantity of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 and has been falling since, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the quantity prescribed in 2015, the last year for which comprehensive data are available, is still more than…

Nov 10, 2017

States Vary Widely in What They Collect, from Whom, and When, for their PDMPs

It is clear that the prescription opioid epidemic is a nationwide problem, but for now, one of the most important weapons against it is being wielded inconsistently from state to state. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are state-run electronic databases of prescribing and dispensing information from healthcare providers and pharmacies.…

Sep 05, 2017

Updated Guidelines from the Federation of State Medical Boards on Prescribing and Testing for Opioids

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) recommends that urine drug testing be used as part of a comprehensive management strategy for patients receiving prescription opioids for chronic pain.

“Periodic and unannounced drug testing (including chromatography) are useful in monitoring adherence to the treatment plan, as well as in…

Aug 14, 2017

The Role of Urine Drug Testing in Pain Management

by Amanda J. Jenkins, Ph.D.

Scientific Director, Toxicology

Opioids and other medications (non-opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants) are prescribed to treat chronic pain of non-cancer origin.1

Ongoing monitoring of these patients is important to ensure safe and effective therapy. Drug testing is one tool utilized to identify…

Jul 14, 2017

What a PDM Program Can Offer Your Practice

For patients with chronic pain, opioids may offer important relief from suffering and help support activities of daily living. At the same time, if they are not used according to your prescription, opioids can do great harm. A prescription drug monitoring (PDM) program can help you maintain the maximum benefit…

Jul 12, 2017

Maine’s Diversion Alert Program Aids Physician Decision-Making

Physicians must take into account many factors when making decisions about opioid prescriptions, including the risk that the individual patient may divert prescription medications for illegal use. To aid physician decision-making, the state of Maine in 2013 instituted its Diversion Alert program, a program that gives physicians access to…

Jul 05, 2017

Do You Know the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids and Monitoring Their Use?

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control published an updated guideline for primary care clinicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain (outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care). It’s an extensive study, with a thorough review of the evidence. But the main message is contained in…

Jul 05, 2017