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March 2012

Best Tests

Testing for CVD, diabetes and renal disease in elderly people

Consideration of laboratory testing and interpretation of subsequent results should be guided by a patients “drugs, diseases and disabilities” rather than age alone. There is limited evidence of benefit of some tests in older people, such as monitoring lipid levels for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, and many tests become more difficult to interpret due to the effects of medicines and declining general health. We offer some guidance for making decisions about testing for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and renal disease in older people. View Article

Non-evidential laboratory testing for drug use in adolescents

On occasion, an adolescent may present at their general practice with instructions to undergo a drug test – usually due to concerns from parents, caregivers or schools. Drug testing is not recommended as first-line management in this situation. Standardised interviewing techniques (e.g. HEEADSSS) are recommended first-line for detecting substance misuse in adolescents, as this provides contextual information about the behaviour. If drug testing is performed, adolescents need to understand their right to confidentiality and support and assistance should be provided in the event of a positive result. View Article