Wayne State University School of Medicine professor heads review guide addressing clinical, economic toll of opioid and drug abuse

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Wayne State University School of Medicine professor heads review guide addressing clinical, economic toll of opioid and drug abuse

Monday, February 20, 2017

Toxicology and Drug Testing’ reduces lab test confusion for health care providers

"Toxicology and Drug Testing," the latest installment of the Clinics in Laboratory Medicine review series released by the medical publishing powerhouse Elsevier, is edited and co-written by Wayne State University School of Medicine Professor of Pathology Martin Bluth, MD, PhD, a recognized expert in clinical pathology Elsevier requested explore the subject for the recent issue.

"This important and timely work has been matured to address the ever-increasing concern of opioid and drug abuse, and the clinical and economic toll this epidemic continues to wreak on our nation," Doctor Bluth said. "It serves to reduce the confusion of laboratory testing approaches that health care providers wrestle with on a routine basis by highlighting the value and utility the clinical lab and toxicology testing provides to clinicians for appropriate patient management."

Opioids refer to addictive medications that relieve pain by switching off pain receptors in the brain, and can include prescription medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine and illicit drugs such as heroin.

The review, available at www.labmed.theclinics.com explores 13 subject areas addressing general topics such as "Narcotic Analgesics and Common Drugs of Abuse: Clinical Correlations and Laboratory Assessment," "Common Interferences in Drug Testing," in addition to specific specialties like "Toxicology in Pain Management," "Toxicology in Reproductive Endocrinology," "Ketamine: A Cause of Urinary Tract Dysfunction" and "Drug Toxicities of Common Analgesic Medications in the Emergency Department."

"How does the physician know where the patient before him lies on the spectrum of 'patient to addict' without the aid of a crystal ball?" writes Doctor Bluth in the review's preface, "Drug Testing and Toxicology: Redefining the Plague of Darkness."

"The clinical laboratory … can provide objective drug compliance and monitoring assistance to aid the physician in managing the patient. The application of toxicology and drug monitoring to one’s practice can be very helpful in aiding the physician in answering two basic questions as he or she assesses the patient: Is the patient taking what has been prescribed? Is the patient taking something else?" he asked.

Doctor Bluth, who serves on the Michigan State Medical Society Committee on Health Care Quality, Efficiency and Economics and its Opioid Prescription Stewardship Task Force, took on the editing project for physicians to better understand the rubric of toxicology and drug testing, and how it relates to various clinic specialties.

"It brings clinical toxicology assessment to the forefront and edifies the inextricable benefit and ancillary objective clinical laboratory support that drug testing offers to clinical decision-making with respect to pain management, drug choice administration and metabolism, testing types and their appropriate utilization, interpretation and understanding, as well as dispelling myths and clarifying limitations in the field," he said.

Elsevier's Clinics in Laboratory Medicine review series represents state-of-the-art understanding of clinical management in various medical disciplines.

Doctor Bluth is chief medical officer for Consolidated Laboratory Management Systems, medical director of Pathology Laboratories for Michigan Surgical Hospital and national medical director for the martial arts therapy nonprofit program Kids Kicking Cancer.

About Wayne State University School of Medicine

Founded in 1868, the Wayne State University School of Medicine educates more than 1,000 medical students annually in Midtown Detroit. In addition to undergraduate medical education, the school offers master’s degree, PhD and MD-PhD programs in 14 areas of basic science to about 400 students annually.