Hepatitis C Community
13.3k Members
Avatar universal

Is it normal for a liver doctor to give you a "serum drug test"

My doctor for my liver has ordered me a "serum drug test"  
I am not sure why she has done this because I told her that I feel some doc treat me like a drug addict because I have hep c, and now she thinks I am one?!? or because she is seeing if my liver is clearing certain drugs or what?

But, I use marijuana sometimes for Nausea.  At most a couple hits, and most of the time I just live through it but it can be very frustrating.  I also got another disorder which contributes to the nausea Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.. I was actually given a prescription for Marinol the active ingredient in marijuana but that has been some time ago.  My state allows for medical cannabis for Hepatitis I just never went that route because I am not sure what my docs would think.

Anyways, she told me to get a new psych because I have been dealing with depression badly, but I said no because I am on benzo's for anxiety, and adderall for ADD and they seem to be helping with those conditions, I just still have a hard time shaking the blues, but I don't think another Psychiatrist will do it as I tried so many meds I been deemed treatment resistant.  

She actually asked me for his name, and I did not think anything of it at first and gave it to him.  If I do go and get this test could she tell my psychiatrist about THC in my system.  He is the only one I have in my corner and I would be pissed to loose him.

I could always get another liver doctor, but I would hate to over a stupid test, but it is giving me great anxiety, because I dont understand he intentions.  
18 Responses
Avatar universal
PLZ help!  Do you think she would rat on me to my psych since she wants me to get a new one, they never even talked before.  Also, does serum drug screen test for THC.. I looked on google and could not find much.  I think it does not unless they specify but how do I know if she specified??
Avatar universal
yes drug screens do test for thc.   a pych consult is necessary in order to treat hepatitis c in people experiencing depression.  your treating doctor would need to know that your psychiatrist is on board and willing to help for treatment.    
Avatar universal
Can she tell my psychiatrist on me?  I feel shes done this as a way to rid of me!  I am receiving disability because of my depression, and just what i need, when they do a revaluation have my psychatrist not help me, and even worse say he got rid of me for using drugs!  I think I might just find another liver doctor.  I dont know what to do..
Avatar universal
about 5 years ago i began to experience nausea and weight loss.  i'm 5'10' and went from 170 lbs to 137 in about a year  i asked my pcp about medical marijuana,  he said he would sign the form if i brought it to him.  i found that when the nausea hit i would take an inhalation and the next thing i know i was scarfing down a bowl of granola.  there may be contraindications for mj in folks experiencing cirrhosis so i only occasionally use it now. also my experience with it is that it can increase my anxiety. all my docs know i am on the medical marijuana registry and no one seems to have a problem with it.  i believe all our docs need to know about all our medications.
446474 tn?1446351282
Why has your doctor ordered a drug test? Probably because she is wondering if you  are taking any drugs that can harm your liver. Any doctor worth their salt knows that you didn't have to be anintravenous drug user in the past to acquire hepatitis C. And it doesn't matter anyway. Would she not treat a patient who was a smoker for lung cancer?

Either you smoke pot or not. If it is legal in your state, so what is the problem? If other meds for nausea don't work then get a doc's approval and a prescription from one of your docs so you can go to a clinic and get the pot if you need it.

Benzos are tranquillisers plus your taking Adderall which is an amphetamine. Is your main doctor aware that you are taking all these meds together?

"I just still have a hard time shaking the blues, but I don't think another Psychiatrist will do it as I tried so many meds I been deemed treatment resistant."  

You say you're own disability because of depression yet you don't take an anti-depressant? Anti-depressants are a different category of drugs then the 2 plus pot you mention. People take anti-depressant for many years without becoming resistant to the drugs. They are not addictive like the 2 drugs you are taking.

You can spend less time worrying about others "intentions" if you stopped deceiving your doctors and telling them the truth about your pot use. It is legal anyway.

"Honesty is the best policy".
Good luck
Avatar universal
Yes I believe they should know too, but I didn't tell her about my marijauna use as it is infrequent.  I also told by my pych he would drop me if I was abusing meds.  I am not abusing marijuana, and I can go and get a medical MJ card, but have not got my medical records mailed to me.

I just want to know why she did this.. because i said i was not an addict and to prove me wrong or something.

To be able to tell my psych - which they are not working together but she has his name now.

Also I was reading about serum drug screen and I think MJ has to specified or they only test for a certain number of drugs, which benzos was one of them.  maybe she just seeing if my liver is not making these meds accumulate in my system. But how do I know what is specified.

Should I call and say hey what exactly are you testing me for, if i did that wouldn't that  make me look like a drug user anyways.  
1654058 tn?1407162666
Yeah. Just be straight up. Btw - I use natural tx too. This one might not be near as relaxing, but ginger chews or green tea w/ ginger curbs nausea really well for me. Just a thot from a sunflower seed spitting fool. lol. Karen
Avatar universal
It is not legal as I have not yet got a card to use medical marijauna.

So that is the only drug I am not being honest about.  She knows I take benzo's and adderall.

And the adderall helps a little with the depression but it is only given to me off label for that.  Its main reason is for ADD.  But he gave it to me because he tried just about every antidepressant and nothing would work, so I asked him to try that because I have add also and mental fatigue.

I told him to put me on another antidepressant even know I have not found one to work.  But he refused and said he would not give me another medication.  I think he worried about my liver.  And I am taking a lot of meds.  I still want an antidepressant even if it don't work because like you said I am on disability for it, and they are going to think something funny if I am not on one.
Avatar universal
I swear if I loose my psych over this I will go nuts, he is the only doctor I have seen long term, so that can help during a disability re evaluation.  The other doctors drop me or I drop them because they think I am too young to be having all the problems I have.

Without disabilty payments the little money I get I don't know if I could go on living, literally I am so depressed I lay in bed all day.  I wouldn't be able to survive in the real world.  I only smoked weed because sometime I eat a meal a day then feel famished, because I can not stand the taste of food.  But I get such lil money they only time I can smoke is when it is given to me, and they aren't helping anymore, and really wont if they find out i am being drug tested.

I feel like doctors are bullying me around.  Why a drug test.  wtf.
Avatar universal
If I call her up tommrow and say look, I smoke weed sometimes because my nausea do you think that would fly, do you think she would/ or could call my psych?
Avatar universal
Oh another reason I dont tell my psych is because I lost my license for DUI 5 years ago, I could of got it back but I dont go to meeting because I have severe social anxiety and  agrophobia also.  So, he said he would write a letter to the judge saying that I am sober.  Maybe I deserve loosing him, and loosing my disability because I lied about my pot smoke.  But I do it so infrequent it is not even funny and sometimes it the only way I can get food down.  Living on the streets is not going to be fun.  
Avatar universal
not judge- the guy you got to see to get you license back.  Not like i was going to drive while under the influence of marijuana though.
Avatar universal
Maybe you should just come clean with your doctor.  That you're willing to get a medical marijuana card, etc.  Say you're willing to stop smoking pot until you get one, etc. if you're not supposed to smoke it without a card.  Just keep it all above board.  The worst thing your doctor could find out is that you're dishonest because then any trust is shaky.  " But I do it so infrequent it is not even funny and sometimes it the only way I can get food down. "  Just say that.

If I were your doc, I'd probably do a test also because she's got to make sure she's covered all the bases.  Last thing she needs is someone coming along later saying "why didn't you run a test first?"   Just a thought.  

Good luck with that.

1669790 tn?1333666195
Do you think you're the first patient that your doc is treating that might not be totally honest in what they're using?  It's not that she doesn't trust you, she needs to know whats in your system that might influence other medications and your liver.  She's doing the right thing.   Stop being so paranoid unless you do really have something to hide.  Mention your infrequent pot use and explain.

This really isn't about HCV or liver issues, but your anxiety over why she ordered the serum drug test.   As Hector said, "honesty is the best policy".  
179856 tn?1333550962
Generally the docs won't treat anyone they believe has a drug/alcohol/psychiatric problem so it is her responsibility to check these things out to make a determination to your status.  You will have to get approval from your psych before you will be allowed to take initerferon.

Just tell the truth, btw, there are a lot of people in recovery here who had serious drug problems in the past........so the "I feel some doc treat me like a drug addict" comment isn't necessary as a caveat to how 'clean and sober' you are. You are not so you gotta fess up and just tell the truth regardless of the situation - the drug test will tell all anyway it wont miss a thing since pot stays in your system up to a month.

BTW I am a recovering addict and my doctor never ever thought to test me.
264121 tn?1313033056
ok wait a minute.  She already HAS a psychiatrist though and this doctor just doesn't LIKE her choice of shrinks?  How is that any of her liver docs business?  Seriously?  What state is this if you don't mind my asking.
264121 tn?1313033056
Also, when you say liver doctor, is this a hepatologist or a gastro?
264121 tn?1313033056
Well, I don't know if she's ever coming back to answer these questions anyway so.  I guess my point is that I feel like sometimes the doctors are a little kneejerk on the pain and nausea control.  Personally, I can't stand pot.  I'm one of those people who doesn't have the right brain chemistry.  I tried it in college and unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale.  And subsequently, I became the most depressed paranoid MESS you've ever seen.  It was awful.  Rather the opposite of what I believe it's supposed to do?  Not to be deterred, I just figured that maybe I had gotten hold of some bad stuff, so I tried it again a couple of times, to equally bad effect, and from then I said, "No thank you."  And people would cajole, and I would say, "No, really, it makes me very unhappy."  My own psychiatrist, to whom I actually DID tell everything, explained to me why that happened to me with the type of chemicals that (don't) run around in my brain.  It made sense at the time, but I can't remember any of it.

Anyway, despite a couple of studies that say that long term mary jane use can hurt your liver if you have hcv or hcv/hiv coinfection, there is also good evidence that some people just do better on treatment if they use marjiuana medicinally (if that's what works for them).

Personally, I used a veritable SMORGASBORD of pharmas when I was treating, two ad's, morphine, demerol, two anti-nausea meds (and still hurt so bad I cried all night), xanax, a sleep aid, lyrica, warfarin, epo...  And while I went off the narcotics and almost all of the others after treatment, I was glad that I had them when I needed them.

And if someone's choice is to smoke marijuana to get through treatment and they follow their treatment protocol, I just don't see what the doctor should get so het up about - unless they have some big control issues.  It would be different if they were finding some substance that could potentially interfere with the treatment drugs.
Have an Answer?
Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473362051
683231 tn?1467326617
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.
How to lower your heart attack risk.
Trying to lose weight? Grab a snack that works with your diet, not against it. Check out these delicious, slimming foods.
Trying to lose weight? Grab a snack that works with your diet, not against it. Check out these delicious, slimming foods.
How eating more salt may actually save your life.
A deeper look into the relationship between salt and hypertension.