The Toxicology Laboratory’s Role in Pain Management

Number of Credits

2 P.A.C.E.®




Course Keywords:

This course provides P.A.C.E.® credit only and is not for individuals that are eligible for CME credit (physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses). For CME credit, register for the course under the Laboratory Director CME Program category where the course is offered for CME credit.

Course Details:

This course will provide an overview of general drugs of abuse testing with an emphasis on urine testing for opiates and other narcotics used in the practice of pain management.

Toxicology is the study of adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. General toxicology is typically associated with environmental toxins and poisons such as ethylene glycol, heavy metals, pesticides, and carbon monoxide. However, drugs of abuse (DOA) are usually considered part of the clinical toxicology laboratory’s test menu as they are chemicals that have adverse effects on humans. This course will focus on DOA testing in the clinical laboratory and specifically in the context of pain management.

DOA testing in non-medical settings, including employment testing and legal testing is not within the scope of this course.

Intended Audience: The target audience for this course is laboratory professionals (Medical Laboratory Scientists, Medical Technologists and Technicians and students.) who are involved in pain management. 

Learning Objectives

  • List the common drugs of abuse that are tested on a routine urine drug screen.
  • Describe the advantages of urine testing versus serum testing in the context of drugs of abuse testing.
  • Describe testing methods used in the clinical toxicology laboratory.
  • Define pain management in a clinical context and explain the lab’s role in this practice.
  • Identify parent and metabolite compounds of common opiate medications.
  • Interpret urine drug screen and confirmation results and decide if the result is consistent with the patient’s history and current prescriptions.

This course has been approved for P.A.C.E.® credit. There are no prerequisites for this course.

  • Laboratory Testing Methods For Drugs of Abuse
  • The Use of Opiates For Pain Management and the Problem of Drug Abuse
  • Interpretation of Drugs of Abuse Testing in Pain Management
  • References
  • Graded Exam

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