Urine drug tests provides information about current or past substance abuse to law enforcement agents, employers, medical providers, learning institutions and other institutions.
In primary care settings, physicians conduct different laboratory tests as a routine in their medical examinations. Such tests help to detect medical problems, adjust medication dosages, monitor efficiency of treatment and diagnose.
Urine drug tests can be ordered for these similar reasons. It can collect information that may enhance many aspects of patient care.
Here, five benefits of urine drug testing have been discussed.
Monitoring and Ongoing Management of Prescription Drugs Use
Some prescribed drugs such as sedatives, opioid pain medication and ADHD medication have addictive properties. In regards to this, practitioners perform drug tests to monitor whether a patient is complying with prescribed drugs that have addictive properties.
Test results inform doctors whether a patient has recently taken their prescribed medication or if they have used non-prescribed or illicit drugs. Laboratory tests enable a physician to detect and reduce chances of drug diversion.
Therefore, practitioners can use urine drug tests as an effective tool for assessing and continuing management of patients who;
- Are currently, or are likely to receive treatment over the long-term with controlled substances such as opioids for chronic pain
- Face a high risk for substance use disorders
- Are experiencing other related medical issues of diagnoses
Identifying Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
Ideally, many people visiting physicians have undiagnosed SUD. This means that practitioners in the primary health care setting have an opportunity to play important, preventive roles in discovering and addressing SUDs.
UDTs can help practitioners to identify those patients using illicit drugs and assess them further for a possible SUD. However, a positive test result is not in itself an adequate diagnosis of a SUD.
A medical provider can look for a wide range of clues for possible SUD in a patient including laboratory findings and behavioral symptoms such as;
- Requesting specific medications that are potentially addictive
- Recurring lose of prescriptions for potentially addictive medications in a patient’s environment
A primary reason for urine drug tests is to enhance the safety of a patient in medical care. For instance;
Before conducting a surgery or an invasive procedure. Urine drug tests will aid in revealing medication or illicit drug use that the patient did not disclose during the doctor-patient interview. The test will be useful in clearing physician suspicions that the patient is using illicit drugs or has a history of drug abuse. This will help to find out whether they are substances that could cause unfavorable drug reactions, prevent interference with anesthesia and avoid possible cardiac complications or respiratory depression.
Urine drug tests can help to prevent toxic drug interactions. Test results help practitioners to know whether a patient was using multiple substances (both legal and illicit drugs). A clinician will require this information to make sure that patients receive the right prescription to treat their medical condition.
Preventing Pregnancy-Related Complications
Urine drug testing for women who are preparing to get pregnant or who are pregnant presents an opportunity to prevent damage to the fetus and the mother. Test results help to assess the patients and refer them to further treatment before they become pregnant.
Therefore, it will be possible to identify a SUD early enough for intervention. This will prevent, minimize, or at the very least plan for serious issues for the fetus or mother. In addition, drug testing will help in monitoring a pregnant woman’s abstinence from drug abuse.
Useful in Psychiatric Care
Patients who are primarily taking medication for mental disorders are not commonly subjected to drug tests. However, practitioners may use urine drug tests to assess patients who present mood or behavioral changes.
The tests can be used with patients with possible mental illnesses to help in diagnosis. They will aid in revealing whether the psychiatric symptoms are related to illicit drug use or withdrawal of substance use. It is also possible to reveal a co-occurring SUD.
Urine drug testing benefits medical providers as it helps to draw a conclusion about a person’s well-being based on their test results and current health condition.
In addition, a physician will use the results in prescribing medication, ongoing monitoring, and suggesting other interventions that will help the patient.