Doctors and addiction specialists have a new tool to detect prescription drug abuse, the Alere iCup RX, introduced by Alere Inc. last week.
The Alere iCup RX detects benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, methadone, opiates and oxycodone in a urine sample in five minutes. The rapid detection gives doctors the opportunity to monitor and intervene if the patient is suspected of abusing prescription drugs.
"Frequent in-office monitoring is an essential strategy to address opioid abuse, a threat which has become a menacing epidemic," National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Dr. Robert DuPont said. "An easy-to-use test that provides actionable results during a patient visit is a valuable first-line tool to detect potential opioid abuse and, when it occurs, to get these patients the specific addiction treatment they need."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared prescription medication and other drug abuse an epidemic. Opioid-related deaths have outstripped deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. In many cases, patients are prescribed opioids for pain and become addicted. When the prescription opioids are no longer available, some patients transition to heroin.
"Arming clinicians with a rapid test that screens only the most relevant prescription drugs not only helps determine whether patients are misusing a drug that was not prescribed, but also helps ensure adherence to legitimately prescribed therapies," Alere RP and Laboratory Director David Green said. "The Alere iCup Rx addresses an important unmet market need for real-time testing of these drugs that are essential to effective pain and addiction management but frequently abused."