Urine drug screen

Definition

A urine drug screen is used to detect illegal and some prescription drugs in the urine.

How the Test is Performed

Before the test, you may be asked to remove all your clothes and wear a hospital gown. You will then be placed in a room where you have no access to your personal items or water. This is so you cannot dilute the sample, or use someone else's urine for the test.

This test involves collecting a "clean-catch" (midstream) urine sample:

The sample is then taken to the lab for evaluation.

How the Test will Feel

The test involves only normal urination.

Why the Test is Performed

The test is performed to detect the presence of illegal and some prescription drugs in your urine. Their presence may indicate that you recently used these drugs. Some drugs may remain in your system for several weeks, so the drug test needs to be interpreted carefully.

Normal Results

No drugs in the urine, unless you are taking medicines prescribed by your provider.

What Abnormal Results Mean

If the test result is positive, another test called gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) may be done to confirm the results. The GC-MS will help tell the difference between a false positive and a true positive.

In some cases, a test will indicate a false positive. This can result from interfering factors such as some foods, prescription medicines, and other drugs. Your provider will be aware of this possibility.


Review Date: 1/12/2019
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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