A test to detect opioid drugs in exhaled breath has been developed by engineers and physicians. A breath test could be useful in caring for chronic pain patients as well as for checking for illegal drug use.
“There are a few ways we think this could impact society,” said Professor Cristina Davis, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis, who led the research along with Professor Michael Schivo from the UC Davis Medical Center. The work is described in a paper published in the Journal of Breath Research Oct. 3.
Doctors and nurses treating chronic pain may need to monitor patients to make sure they are taking their drugs correctly, that their prescribed drugs are being metabolized properly and that they are not taking additional medications. Blood tests are the gold standard: a reliable, noninvasive test would be a useful alternative.