PeaceHealth Launches New Test to Assist Physicians in Monitoring Patients on Pain Medications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2009
Springfield, Ore. – PeaceHealth’s Oregon Medical Laboratories (OML) is announcing its launch of a new comprehensive pain management panel designed to protect chronic pain patients from adverse drug interactions and overdoses, protect communities from prescription drug diversion and protect physician practices from drug-seeking individuals.
Trademarked PtProtect, the panel was created to assist physicians in combating the alarming increase in prescription-related abuse, deaths and overdoses. In 2007, Oregon ranked first in the nation in prescription drug abuse, according to Oregon’s Department of Human Services. In Washington State, the overall number of opioid-related deaths more than doubled between 1995 and 2004, and prescription opioid-related deaths now exceed non-prescription opioid-related deaths.
Pain is the number one patient complaint affecting more than 50 million people in the U.S. Promoting pain relief while preventing abuse of pain medication poses a critical challenge for physicians. Until now, clinicians have monitored compliance with prescribed medications largely based on the patient’s behavior. Recent studies, however, show that patient behavior is a poor indicator of compliance.
PtProtect allows clinicians to rely on the objective findings of a urine drug test that detects nine of the most common drugs of abuse and 10 commonly prescribed opiates and opioids. Illegal diversion can be identified by the absence of prescribed medications in the urine.
With greater sensitivity and specificity than similar urine drug tests, PtProtect also generates interpretative reports that simplify management of chronic pain patients. These reports allow physicians to quickly and accurately determine whether test results are consistent with patient prescriptions. Positive results are automatically confirmed, and an interpretive comment section compares the following: opiate/opioid medication prescribed, actual opiate/opioid detected, and ratio of active metabolite to parent opiate/opioid. Comments put the results in context of what the patient is taking.
“OML developed this panel based on our experience in the laboratory that physicians needed better tools for monitoring patient safety,” explained Stephen Erfurth, Ph.D., Oregon Medical Laboratories’ director for science and technology. “Laboratory results indicated that patients were combining medications from more than one physician or with street drugs and putting themselves at great risk. Yet the physicians were unaware because they were only testing for the single drug that they had prescribed.”
Erfurth led the development of PtProtect to allow for more definitive testing and to monitor patient compliance with confidence.
With PtProtect, clinicians have reliable data to talk with patients about issues such as receiving prescriptions from multiple physicians, appropriate use of medications or prescription drug diversion.
Oregon Medical Laboratories is part of the not-for-profit PeaceHealth health care system. Based in Bellevue, PeaceHealth operates hospitals and medical centers in Alaska, Washington and Oregon that serve more than 57,000 inpatient admissions annually in both rural and urban settings. Oregon Medical Laboratories has performed urine drug testing for over 20 years at its state-of-the art testing facilities. OML shares its drug testing expertise through clinical and technical consultation with clinicians.
Media Contact: Linda Hawley
Oregon Medical Laboratories
541.984.8225, [email protected]