Oral Fluid Testing Advances Drug Monitoring Opioid Therapy

Denver, CO — Neel Mehta, MD, medical director of Pain Medicine, Weill-Cornell Pain Medicine Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital; Frank Kunkel, MD, medical director, Accessible Recovery Services (ARS); and Richard Stripp, PhD, chief scientific and technical officer, Sterling Healthcare Services, will be presenting at the International Conference on Opioids at Harvard Medical School, June 8-10.

Stripp, who is a tenured assistant professor of forensic pharmacology and toxicology with the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science Program, will be presenting the team’s work: “Prediction of Plasma Oxycodone Concentration Ranges in Patients at Steady State from Measured Oral Fluid Levels,” which focuses on the development of dose correlations using oral-fluid testing on patients undergoing chronic oxycodone therapy.

This testing has the potential to provide a superior method of drug monitoring for clinicians assessing compliance with a patient’s drug regimen.

“Much attention has been given to developing better ways to monitor opiate use in the pain management and primary care medical fields. Patients prescribed chronic opiates are at risk of abuse and toxicity,” Stripp notes. “It has become more and more important to document appropriate drug-concentration ranges in patients to ensure therapeutic levels of the drug and to ensure patient compliance.”

“It would be a big step forward in toxicology testing to provide physicians a powerful, simple, non-invasive tool for determining whether the medication levels are within the expected range for the particular patient,” Stripp adds.

While traditional toxicology tests, such as urine drug screens, are suitable for confirming whether a medication is present or absent in a patient, a more comprehensive test that indicates whether the drug concentrations are within the expected range based on dosing is highly desirable. Seeing dose correlations enables clinicians to detect whether a patient is taking the correct dosage and whether that dosage is effective in the patient—considering genetics, metabolism, drug interactions, and more.

The principal advantages of oral fluid as a drug-testing matrix include easily observed collection, information regarding very recent drug use, and a better reflection of drug concentrations in the body.

Dr. Stripp is a toxicologist who has been providing services related to all aspects of forensic and clinical toxicology for more than 30 years.


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