New Developments in Urine Drug Testing

Urine testing plays a significant role in detecting and managing a variety of disorders that may be caused by the abuse of drugs.  The practice helps to recognize the content level of drugs such as opioid in the body.

While opioids are mainly used to treat pain, overuse can render it ineffective which leads to dependency. As a result, the affected person ends up suffering from withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, there are also opioid derived substances like oxycodone, heroin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine, and morphine that are commonly abused by many people.

These substances can cause different health and social problems to affected people. Opioid abuse can even lead to death if not controlled on time. In order to treat the conditions created by opioid misuse, it is crucial to conduct effective urine drug screening.  Most employers will require drug testing prior to receiving a job offer.

The two new urine drug screens for quick office testing can go a long way in detecting opioid abuse and misuse. The two instruments have good designs for physicians who deal with patients for pain. As noted, the opioid is a remedy for pain, but its abuse can cause dependency issues.

The physicians can also use the new options for screening urine to detect fentanyl. Many people abuse this substance, but it has long terms effects related to withdrawal symptoms. The new urine drug screening instruments also bring a lot of advantages to physicians and patients.


Source: Mayo Clinic

The Two Urine Drug Screens

The first one is the iCUP Rx Drug Screen, and Alere, now acquired by Abbott, launched it in Waltham, Massachusetts. The test kit is useful in detecting the levels of five opioid-derived drugs that are most commonly abused by different people.

These five drugs are essentially pain medications that include:

  • buprenorphine,
  • methadone,
  • benzodiazepines,
  • oxycodone, and
  • opiates.

The second screen is called Sefria Drug Screening Kit. It is the first and only instrument that enables the physicians to detect and monitor the presence of fentanyl. The product is ideal for in-office use, and Immunalysis Corporation offers it.

Both Sefria and iCUP Rx Drug Screen tests have 510(k) valid clearance from the regulatory authority, Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The kits have insurance coverage for reimbursement from the health insurers.

What Are The Benefits Of iCup Rx Drug Screen and Sefria Kit?

There are many benefits of using the two latest urine drug tests to the physicians. It is imperative for the practitioners to perform accurate tests in order to treat drug-related conditions effectively. These two new kits have unique features that make them useful in delivering that precise diagnosis of the problem.

1. Sefria Helps Physicians To Screen For Fentanyl

Fentanyl relieves pain and physicians prescribe it to the patients experiencing severe pain. It quickly relieves pain, but its effects also do not last for an extended period. The other issue is that it creates a state of relaxation such that people may abuse it to get the feeling on a regular basis.

Other people use Fentanyl for unlawful purposes as a result of its pain relieving and relaxation properties. Some people mix Fentanyl with heroin and cocaine to extend the feelings of relaxation, and it is in demand. There is a danger that the people who misuse or abuse this component can develop an addiction if they continue the practice.


Source: Mayo Clinic

The main problem of illicitly produced fentanyl is that it plays a leading role in causing deaths related to opioid overdose. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) Report (2006-2015), deaths related to heroin overdose increased sharply. The leading cause of the sharp increases in deaths relates to increases in the supply of heroin.

Fentanyl is popular due to its relatively low cost, high potency as well as easy access. Given such a scenario, there is a tendency by many people to abuse opioid derived drugs. The consequences are far-reaching though, and this is the reason why SEFRIA comes in handy to detect Fentanyl in urine.

2. The Sefria Test is Affordable

The Sefria fentanyl test is the only test to gain FDA clearance. The move is a significant stride in the health sector since Fentanyl tests were previously reserved for the criminal justice system. The test was specifically for forensic purposes to conduct justice related tasks.

However, the approval of Sefria Fentanyl test by FDA makes it possible to use it in clinical settings. The SEFRIA kit will cost $1.50 for the doctors, and this price is reasonable. The test can detect Fentanyl presence in urine from a cutoff of 1 ng/mL.

The test works as good as Liquid chromatography-spectrometry (LA-MS) analysis. The clinical performances for both tests are good regarding sensitivity and specificity. Given this scenario, there is no doubt that the new Sefria Fentanyl test is useful in detecting the substance in the urine sample.

3. Sefria Test is Fast

The other significant benefit of the test is that it is fast. The physicians can get the results immediately rather than wait for an extended period. The advantage to the doctors is that they can quickly make decisions about the appropriate treatment to the patient.

The targeted primary users of the test kits are physician offices with onsite labs and hospital laboratories. Large healthcare organizations are expected to be the primary users of the test kits. At the moment, the manufacturers of the test kits do not anticipate solo practitioners to adopt this new test.

How iCup Rx Drug Screen Works

The Alere’s iCup Rx Drug Screen will be able to detect five pain medications that are commonly abused by different people. These medicines include benzodiazepines, opiates, buprenorphine, oxycodone, and methadone. It is essential for the practitioners to be in a better position to detect abuse of these medicines early.

The other goal of the test is to establish a mechanism to use in a bid to improve compliance among the patients. Through early detection of abuse, the practitioners can suggest other strategies to wean the patient off opioids.

Opioid use disorder (OUD) needs close monitoring, and the physicians can prescribe legitimate therapies after conducting the tests. The element of overdose is most dangerous hence the significance of monitoring tools meant to reduce the risk.

There are different tools that physicians can adopt following successful testing of opioid drug-related abuse. The good thing about the tools for compliance is that they are flawless. They can significantly help to improve the condition of the patient without using opioid-related medicine.

The other element is that iCup Rx is the only point-of-care-test to assess the medications frequently prescribed for abuse.  There is a tendency by some unscrupulous people to abuse different medicines to get high feelings leading to addiction. However, the iCup Rx gives the clinicians an opportunity to get an answer on the spot to possible abuse of the medication.

lab test urine drug testing

1. iCup Rx Mainly Focuses on Detecting Pain Drugs

The test provides a quick solution to the practitioners since they can identify any form of abuse of pain drugs. The iCup Rx screen test mainly focuses on screening pain-related drugs in urine. These are the main types of medicines that are commonly abused by people.

Other similar urine tests usually test for about 14 drugs from a urine sample. Such tests are likely to be time consuming and clinicians may take an extended period to identify any form of abuse. The pain practitioners ought to focus on the exact things that should be monitored. They need to gain knowledge about the precise cause of further problems affecting a pain therapy patient.

Therefore, iCup Rx is efficient it that it gives quick results to the practitioners.  The test consists of five unique essays that combine into one urine collection cup. Interestingly, the results are out within five minutes while other tests take longer than this.

The advantage of efficiency is that it helps the practitioner to evaluate the level of drugs in the patient immediately. The prescriber is also in a position to quickly make decisions about the aspect of renewing or denying to refilling the prescription. The quick results also facilitate appropriate dialogue between the practitioner and the patient.

It is also useful by way of ensuring accuracy in the results obtained from the tests.  The test focuses on one aspect, so there are high chances of getting accurate results. Other tests involve more than ten drugs, and the issue of accuracy can be questionable in such a scenario.

The cutoff for opioids test is 300ng.mL, and the level is lower compared to other urine drug essays. The only notable aspect about the test that needs improvement is that it only provides preliminary test results that are analyzable.

Therefore, it is essential to refine this test further so that it can use other powerful methods of data analysis. These methods include: “gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) as well as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry” (LC-MS/MS). Such confirmation services are available at Alere’s lab.

2. The Test Offers Wide Options For Clinicians

The test gives physicians who care for the pain patients a wide range of options for treatment of OUD. All doctors who prescribe chronic opioid therapy are likely to benefit from the iCup Rx test since it can screen all cases of drug abuse. The practitioners are in a better place to determine the benefits of opioid prescription.

The doctors can also determine how discontinuing the patient from opioid prescription can also benefit the patient. These decisions depend on subjective observations as well as patient reports. When the physicians have the correct information, they are in a better position to make informed decisions that benefit the patient.

It is essential for doctors to assess all the clinical observations thoroughly. After assessment of the views, the doctors should also respond in a timely way to the concerns of the patient. It is also essential to take care when making subjective decisions.

However, the practitioners should avoid the misconception that some negative behaviors of patients on opioid prescription are signs of OUD.  The action could be a result of suffering due to severe pain not correctly controlled. Patients may be trying hard to cut on opioids with little success unsuccessfully.

Other Benefits of Fentanyl Test

The presence of the patient while carrying out the fentanyl test is essential since it helps to make informed decisions. It may be necessary to prescribe oxycodone or not after conducting some investigations with the patient.

There is a high possibility that the patient could be using heroin if fentanyl is identified in the urine sample. The heroine is mixed with fentanyl the reason for suspicion of its use by the patient. The GDC reported that over 90% of deaths caused by unintentional overdose involved fentanyl. The study was carried in 24 Ohio counties.

Therefore, there is hope that the new test can be a viable option that can help the doctors to make informed decisions. When dealing with patients with severe pain on opioid prescription, accurate information is vital. The current point-of-care is essential to determine the level of drugs in the urine.

The practitioner gets specific information on whether the patient is using fentanyl. The main problem is that individuals can obtain fentanyl from the street. The fentanyl may not be prescribed, and it is essential for the doctors to investigate thoroughly before making a decision.

Each type of test can be useful to different physicians, but it also depends on the patient population to some extent. The prescription drugs the patients are using are also likely to determine the outcome of the test.

The latest iCup Rx and Sefria tests prove to be a viable option for detecting opioid abuse among severe pain patients. There is a tendency by some patients to abuse fentanyl for the love of getting a relaxation feeling. Continuous use of the substance can lead to addiction and terrible withdrawal symptoms.

Physicians can get numerous benefits from using the two testing methods such as efficiency and effectiveness. The test takes about five minutes to get results while chances of reliability are also high. The tests also focus on specific aspects such as testing fentanyl which increases their credibility.

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