New Research Reveals Link between Marijuana and Inappropriate Use of Pain Medications, other Prescription Drugs

April 12, 2013

BALTIMORE – April 12, 2013 – 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.”

Additional information on the methods, design and results of the research are available at Ameritox.com/research.

About Ameritox Ameritox is the nation’s leader in Pain Medication Monitoring  SolutionsSM, offering specialized laboratory testing and reporting services. Ameritox’s expertise and innovative science provide physicians with the information and support they need to enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients. Monitoring through prescription drug testing can help physicians make more informed clinical decisions while also helping to reduce the possible risk of misuse, abuse or diversion of powerful medications. Ameritox is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. with laboratory facilities in Midland, Texas and Greensboro, N.C. Ameritox can be found online at www.ameritox.com, on Twitter @Ameritox, on Facebook at facebook.com/ameritox, and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/ameritox.