Urine drug test interpretation: What do physicians know?

Gary M. Reisfield, MD, Roger Bertholf PhD, Robert L. Barkin, MBA, PharmD, Fern Webb, PhD, George Wilson, MD


Objective: To determine the level of urine drug test (UDT) interpretive knowledge of physicians who use these instruments to monitor adherence in their patients on chronic opioid therapy.
Methods: A seven-question instrument consisting of six five-option, single-best-answer multiple choice ques¬tions and one yes/no question was completed by 114 physicians (77 who employ UDT and 37 who do not) attending one of three regional opioid education confer¬ences. We calculated frequencies and performed %2 analyses to examine bivariate associations between UDT utilization and interpretive knowledge.
Results: The instrument was completed by 80percent of eligible respondents. None of the physicians who employ UDT answered all seven questions correctly, and only 30 percent answered more than half correctly. Physicians who employ UDTperformed no better on any of the ques¬tions than physicians who do not employ UDT.
Conclusions: Physicians who employ UDT to monitor patients receiving chronic opioid therapy are not profi¬cient in test interpretation. This study highlights the need for improved physician education; it is imperative for physicians to work closely with certified laboratoryprofes- sionals when ordering and interpreting these tests.


urine drug test, chronic opioid therapy, interpretation, physician knowledge

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jom.2007.0044


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