Publication Date


Journal Title

JMIR Med Inform


Background: Several pain management guidelines recommend regular urine drug testing (UDT) in patients who are being treated with chronic opioid analgesic therapy (COAT) to monitor compliance and improve safety. Guidelines also recommend more frequent testing in patients who are at high risk of adverse events related to COAT; however, there is no consensus on how to identify high-risk patients or on the testing frequency that should be used. Using previously described clinical risk factors for UDT results that are inconsistent with the prescribed COAT, we developed a web-based tool to adjust drug testing frequency in patients treated with COAT. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate a risk stratification tool, the UDT Randomizer, to adjust UDT frequency in patients treated with COAT. Methods: Patients were stratified using an algorithm based on readily available clinical risk factors into categories of presumed low, moderate, high, and high+ risk of presenting with UDT results inconsistent with the prescribed COAT. The algorithm was integrated in a website to facilitate adoption across practice sites. To test the performance of this algorithm, we performed a retrospective analysis of patients treated with COAT between June 2016 and June 2017. The primary outcome was compliance with the prescribed COAT as defined by UDT results consistent with the prescribed COAT. Results: 979 drug tests (867 UDT, 88.6%; 112 oral fluid testing, 11.4%) were performed in 320 patients. An inconsistent drug test result was registered in 76/979 tests (7.8%). The incidences of inconsistent test results across the risk tool categories were 7/160 (4.4%) in the low risk category, 32/349 (9.2%) in the moderate risk category, 28/338 (8.3%) in the high risk category, and 9/132 (6.8%) in the high+ risk category. Generalized estimating equation analysis demonstrated that the moderate risk (odds ratio (OR) 2.1, 95% CI 0.9-5.0; P=.10), high risk (OR 2.0, 95% CI 0.8-5.0; P=.14), and high risk+ (OR 2.0, 95% CI 0.7-5.6; P=.20) categories were associated with a nonsignificantly increased risk of inconsistency vs the low risk category. Conclusions: The developed tool stratified patients during individual visits into risk categories of presenting with drug testing results inconsistent with the prescribed COAT; the higher risk categories showed nonsignificantly higher risk compared to the low risk category. Further development of the tool with additional risk factors in a larger cohort may further clarify and enhance its performance.

Volume Number


Issue Number




Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department