How Can We Help?
Patient monitoring during follow-up visits should address the following points:
- Whether the patient continues to use alcohol or illicit drugs, or to engage in non-medical use of prescription drugs;
- The degree of compliance with the treatment regimen, including the use of prescribed medications as directed;
- Changes (positive or negative) in social functioning and relationships;
- Avoidance of high-risk individuals, situations, and diversion risk;
- Review of whether and to what degree the patient is involved in counseling and other psychosocial therapies, as well as in self-help activities through participation in mutual support meetings of groups such as Narcotics Anonymous;
- The presence or absence of medication side effects; and
- Individuals being treated with medication-assisted therapy often demonstrate dramatic improvement in addiction-related behaviors and psychosocial functioning. Such positive changes should be acknowledged and reinforced by the prescribing physician whenever possible.
- Urine drug testing should be ordered whenever deemed medically appropriate, but at least once every 6-12 months.