Ameritox, one of the nation's leaders in pain medication monitoring, announced new research today showing a correlation between positive marijuana tests and higher rates of potential prescription drug non-adherence among chronic pain medication users. The research was presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Over the course of one year, Ameritox studied more than a 100,000 urine samples from patients nationwide who were prescribed hydrocodone, the most frequently prescribed medication in the United States, marketed under the names Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab and others. The results show that of the samples that tested positive for marijuana, 36.5% did not have the prescribed hydrocodone present. For patients who had no illicit drug detected, 29.7% had a negative test for hydrocodone use. This finding was statistically significant. The research also found that 29.1% of the samples that were positive for marijuana and 29.9% of samples that were positive for cocaine contained an additional non-prescribed medication, such as a tranquilizer. In patients without evidence of illicit drug use only 22% of samples indicated an unexpected or non-prescribed medication was being used.
"A clinician considering whether to test for marijuana should know that the data strongly suggests that marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of potential prescription drug non-adherence," Ameritox Chief Medical Officer Dr. Harry Leider said. "Evidence of marijuana use on a urine drug test can be as much of a red flag as a positive cocaine test that a patient's use of prescription narcotics requires close monitoring."