A novel chronic opioid monitoring tool to assess prescription drug steady state levels in oral fluid

Naum Shaparin, Neel Mehta, Frank Kunkel, Richard Stripp, Damon Borg, Elizabeth Kolb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective. Interpretation limitations of urine drug testing and the invasiveness of blood toxicology have motivated the desire for the development of simpler methods to assess biologically active drug levels on an individualized patient basis. Oral fluid is a matrix well-suited for the challenge because collections are based on simple noninvasive procedures and drug concentrations better correlate to blood drug levels as oral fluid is a filtrate of the blood. Well-established pharmacokinetic models were utilized to generate oral fluid steady state concentration ranges to assess the interpretive value of the alternative matrix to monitor steady state plasma oxycodone levels. Methods. Paired oral fluid and plasma samples were collected from patients chronically prescribed oxycodone and quantitatively analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Steady state plasma concentration ranges were calculated for each donor and converted to an equivalent range in oral fluid. Measured plasma and oral fluid oxycodone concentrations were compared with respective matrix-matched steady state ranges, using each plasma steady state classification as the control. Results. A high degree of correlation was observed between matrices when classifying donors according to expected steady state oxycodone concentration. Agreement between plasma and oral fluid steady state classifications was observed in 75.6% of paired samples. This study supports novel application of basic pharmacokinetic knowledge to the pain management industry, simplifying and improving individualized drug monitoring and risk assessment through the use of oral fluid drug testing. Many benefits of established therapeutic drug monitoring in plasma can be realized in oral fluid for patients chronically prescribed oxycodone at steady state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2162-2169
Number of pages8
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Oral fluid
  • Oxycodone
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Prescription regimen adherence
  • Steady state medication monitoring
  • Urine drug testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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