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Pain Med. Users Need To Take Monthly Drug Tests
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bpcookie posted:
My pain specialist told me that if she prescribed Hydrocodone, that I would have to come to their office once a month, do a drug test and pay for it out of my own pocket. She said that it was very expensive.

A few months ago my family Dr. prescribed Hydrocodone for my back pain. In my opinion, its ridiculous to have to get your pain medication from your family Dr. and not from the Dr. who should be giving it to you. Anyways, just recently I was at my family Dr.s for an entirely different reason and taped on the wall was a note that said:

Anyone being prescribed opioid medication and or *blah blah* medication, will have to take a monthly drug test, for as long as you are taking the medication, whether you are getting a monthly prescription or not.

I'm like "DOH!!!". For one thing, I can NOT afford to pay for a drug test once a month. I'm also afraid of drug tests because I do not trust them. I'm afraid of false positives. Also, what in the Hell are they looking for in a drug test? BTW, I take, on average, one Hydrocodone tablet a week, taking a monthly drug test is ridiculous. I wonder whats next?

If Dr.s are not going to give you pain medication, then they should fix the problem that is causing you the pain. If they can not fix the problem, then the damn drug testing should not be forced upon you.
WebMD Health Ambassador- BpCookie
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ctbeth responded:
Hi BPCookie,

I don't know about your insurance plan, but many insurers do pay for urine drug screens, as they are prescribed by your MD.

May I suggest ringing up your insurance company's customer service and find what they have to say regarding UDS.

Please do tell, although you probably have, your prescribing MD that you do not take your Hydrocodone on a regular basis.

Since you only take it once a week or so, there is a significant probability that your UDS will show negative.

"They" are screening for confirmation that you are taking your med(s) that have been prescribed for you; that the patient is not filling the Rx and selling the pills.

The USD will also indicate if the patient is taking additional drugs over that which is prescribed.

Are you getting sufficient pain relief with Hydro that it's worth what you perceive as ridiculous? If you take it but once a week, is there another med that you also take on a regular basis? Have you tried other meds that are not schedule II?

For me, and this is just my opinion- not necessarily right or wrong- if I had to submit a monthly urine for drug screen in order to qualify to receive my schedule II pain meds, I would readily comply. I'd do whatever necessary to have my daily pain managed.

I also understand that "damned drug testing" may be one step toward saving lives through limiting the amount of prescription meds being diverted, or to steer a patient who is having signs of addiction to as early intervention as possible.

I do hope that you and your MD's practice can come to some sort of realistic resolution of the cost of monthly USD.

I do not know the price you've been told, but my MD uses a USD that cost less-than $100.00

Best wishes for a nice weekend,

BethH
 
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_swank_ responded:
There are some valid reasons why doctors do drug screening. You don't need to worry about "false positives". You want your drug test to show positive for the drug you are taking. My doctor requires me to make an office visit every 3 months. The drug tests are paid for by my insurance company 100%. I just have to pay my usual copay. If you don't like going every month then find a doctor that only requires visits every 3 months or less.

The tests can be expensive if they are sent out to a lab. Not so much if they are done in-house.
 
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dfromspencer responded:
I have to go with what Beth said. No matter what it takes, I have to do what they want for what little relief I get. If not, I would go insane!!!

Its a shame its come to this, but many are getting worried about drug abuses. Doctors to lawmakers, all. I can understand the resoning behind this, but with the cost of everything going up all the time, how is one supposed to pay for everything, especially on a fixed income???

Something has got to give, and it had better be soon, or a lot of us will drown in a sea of debt!!!

(Are you listening, Big Brother)???
LIVE LONG-LOVE WELL!!!
 
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lorigibs40734 responded:
I'm with Beth and Dennis on this. Whatever it takes for the doctor to treat me, even if it's just to get a little relief. Right now I'd kill for just 5 minutes but that's another story. Entirely.

I have Medicare and I pay $25.00 a month for the urine drug screen, on top of my copay. It doesn't seem like a lot, but when you're on a limited income, every dollar needs to be accounted for. Since you don't require the regular use of narcotics for your pain, maybe you should talk to your doctor about putting you on some different meds...??
 
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bpcookie replied to ctbeth's response:
CT Beth Oh, now that makes sense.

Since its so tough to get a prescription for Hydrocodone, I use it very sparingly. I wish I could say that my pain was under control but its not. I have other pain medication that I use, Methocarbamol , Tramadol (mostly useless) and then the occasional Hydrocodone. Those are for my back pain. I also take Lyrica for my VLSC pain (it works only sometimes and when it does work, it just knocks the edge off the pain). When I ask most of my Drs for a pain script, they keep trying to push me off to other Dr.s Nobody wants to give out pain prescriptions anymore.

My Vulva Lichen Simplex Chronicus is so painful, I'm constantly having to cancel Dr. apts and dentist apts., because I can't drive to my apts. I would never be able to make it to a monthly drug test. Thank God my Psych. does phone apts. I can't even go out to dinner, the movies or visit my family who lives an hour away. Thanks for all the info. hun

Swank, drug testing every three months is something that I could prob. do, every month is way too often for me because of my driving/sitting situation. My VLSC makes it painful to sit. Thanks

Spencer, I hear ya. Meds cost too much, seeing a Dr. cost too much and having to pay out of pocket, monthly, for a drug test is over the top expensive.

Lorigibs, I do need daily pain medication but trying to find the right medication has been pretty rough. So far Hydrocodone is the only one that I can count on to help my back pain, when its at its worse. I've tried a slew of other pain medications, but non of those work or didn't work well enough. Ive had the back pain for over 6 yrs. But I also have VLSC pain and that is what I use Lyrica for. Dr.s hate to see that I take a muscle relaxer, a pain med. and an opioid and also nerve pain med., its just looks like way too many pills to them.
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lorigibs40734 replied to bpcookie's response:
Hi Cookie,

Doctors here in Kentucky are like that too. They look that comes on their faces when you even mention the word "pain" is almost comical. I thought it was just the doctors here but apparently it's becoming that way every where. My pain specialist is very good though, but I have to take those stupid steroid injections again. I've already had all three, they don't help, I know that, he knows that, but it's got to be done again.

I think it's just a money racket. Medicare pays out the nose for those stupid shots that don't do anything to relieve any pain, just cause more. My gp set up physical therapy as well (they wanted me to see the Chiropractor too but I nixed that immediately) but she didn't show me any exercise or stretches that I don't already do at home so I saw no sense in going back and wasting my money on copays two or three times a week for something I already do at home for free. I even showed the "therapist" a stretching exercise she's never seen. It was pitiful.

I hope you, and every body, has a less pain week!!
 
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bpcookie replied to lorigibs40734's response:
Speaking of a money racket, my pain specialist, RA specialist and one of my Dr.s who specialize (in the woman area) pain, all wanted MRIs for different areas, my ins. wont cover it until I get x-rays done first. Then they may approve the MRI, but there are no promises.

good luck to you
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Feardorcha68 replied to bpcookie's response:
hi bpcookie,
Did anyone explain why you have to get an x-rays done first if your doctor wants you to have an MRI?


It sounds like the x-ray company makes more money if you have to have x-ray before MRIs. I think this would mean that you have to see your doctor an extra time too so he can tell you the reading of the x-ray and then schedule your MRI.


I hope that you get the MRI and that they can find out a way to help you.
 
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bpcookie replied to Feardorcha68's response:
It is the ins. companies policy. I first need an x-ray and then I may be approved for an MRI. My ins. company is a pain in the azz. When a procedure is ordered and it needs to be done on both sides, left and right, my ins. will only allow my Dr. to do one side on one day and the other side the next day. shrug
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annette030 responded:
I have only had two drug tests with my current doctor in 15 years, all on opioids of some kind.

One cost over $300, I complained and the doctor did her magic and I never heard about it again. I did not pay for the test.

The second one was under $20, I paid and again never heard from them again.

Different types of tests will be charged differently. The first type of test that cost sooooo much, was sent out to the lab, and was to find out exactly how much of a drug was in your system, the second kind, very cheap, was just a screening test done by the MA in the office, to see if the drug was present.

Both kinds are liable to have false positives or negative. I totally understand you being a bit scared of them.

I agree that not all pain causing problems can be fixed, and no labs should be forced on anyone. Explain WHY the test is needed and let me decide.

Did your family doctor tell you what was going on? How old did the note on the wall look to be? Maybe it was only meant to scare away drug abusers....Talk to him, everything as negotiable.

Take care, Annette
 
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annette030 replied to lorigibs40734's response:
Part of the problem is which coding the person in the office uses to collect $$ from the insurance company. I also have Medicare and they will pay for tests and things that are "medically necessary", if the person doing the coding pushes the right buttons, it will come out okay, if the person pushing the buttons, pushes different ones, it may not. The doctor has all kinds of power to change things but only if he/she knows what is going on.

Talk to your doctor, let him know what is going on, he can ask the person doing the coding to try different codes. He can complain to the lab that does the test. Doctors don't often know what is going on in their financial departments. Be the squeaky wheel.

Take care, Annette
 
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annette030 replied to bpcookie's response:
Have you looked into home health care? I did it for about six months, some visits were just to do lab draws, etc. on home bound patients like you.

Take care, Annette
 
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annette030 replied to Feardorcha68's response:
It probably intends to weed out folks who don't really need an MRI to start out with??? For awhile everyone was asking for MRIs right off the bat.

I wish doctors had the final say in what tests are required, but then the doctors would probably bend to what patients want, like they have for antibiotics. We have ended up with drug resistant bugs due in part to overuse of antibiotics. It sucks all the way around.

It pays to get a really good doctor.

Take care, Annette
 
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bpcookie replied to annette030's response:
Anette, Thats a really good idea. Next time I see my Dr. I will ask her about the drug tests, explain to her that I only use my Hydro about twice a week, only when my pain is at its worse. I will also tell her that I have vulva pain which usually keeps me at home, unable to drive, so going to a monthly drug test would be very difficult for me.
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