Washington: Urine drug testing can be a useful tool to treat patients with opioid use disorder in a primary care setting, suggests a new study.
A urine drug test, also known as a urine drug screen or a UDS, is the analysis of an individual's urine for the presence of certain illegal drugs and prescription medications.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, revealed that patients are less likely to disclose drug use earlier in treatment, and although the study was not able to identify reasons for this, the authors believe that it may be related to fear of discharge from a treatment program and stigma related to relapse.
The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Office-based addiction treatment has become a key strategy in combating the opioid epidemic, where patients get treatment for their disease in a primary care setting with close monitoring during their recovery.
However, one of the questions in the current practice of is how best to monitor for illicit substance use, especially when patients do not report it. There has also been a lack of data regarding how frequently patients in these programs report substance use compared to finding a positive result by urine drug testing (UDT).
"It is important for providers to understand more about how the lab results compare to what patients tell us in a visit. Patients may not be self-reporting substance use early on in their treatment due to concerns about being discharged from programs if they disclose use, or they may feel shame about relapse and do not want to disappoint their care team," said Sarah M. Bagley, study's co-author.
The researchers correlated the frequency of patients' self-reported substance use and the results of their UDTs. It showed that 76 per cent of UDTs positive for cocaine and 57 per cent of those positive for opioids occurred when patients did not disclose substance use in their treatment visit.
Additionally, rates of positive UDTs without self-reported substance use were higher earlier in treatment, possibly reflecting growing trust between the patient and the treatment team over time.