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Adding urine testing reduces opioid use and costs for comp patients

Posted On: Oct. 14, 2014 12:00 AM CST

In coordination with clinical monitoring and oversight, urine drug testing reduces the use of and amount paid for high-risk medications, including opioids, among injured workers, according to new studies by Helios.

Memphis, Tennessee-based Helios, formerly pharmacy benefit managers Progressive Medical Inc. and PMSI Inc., on Tuesday shared results from clinical studies that were first presented during conferences in September.

Clinical interventions among injured workers enrolled in the Helios drug testing and monitoring service who had an inconsistent drug test for 90 days prior to the test and 90 days after led to changes in utilization and costs, Helios said in a statement.

For opioids, there was a 34.2% reduction in utilization and 26.5% decrease in drug spend, according to the statement. For benzodiazepines, which are often used for treating anxiety, there was a 44.4% reduction in utilization and a 47.7% in decrease in drug spend.

Of the drug test studies, 67.2% were inconsistent, which could mean medications were not found in the urine or that non-prescribed medications were detected, Helios said in the statement.

According to the statement, tests showed that 66.6% of injured workers had at least one non-prescribed medication, 46.8% did not show the prescribed medication, and 14.9% had illegal substances such as marijuana and cocaine.

“By providing prescribers with additional information regarding unexpected drug test results, our drug testing and monitoring service has successfully reduced workers compensation payer spend on controlled substances and other medications,” Matthew Foster, clinical pharmacy manager for Helios, said in the statement. “It also resulted in decreased therapeutic risks associated with chronic pain treatment for injured workers.”