Rapid spot tests for detecting the presence of adulterants in urine specimens submitted for drug testing

Am J Clin Pathol. 2002 Feb;117(2):325-9. doi: 10.1309/9Q2G-6CTH-XT16-HCCC.


Several adulterants are used to mask tests for abused drugs in urine. Adulterants such as "Klear" and "Whizzies" contain potassium nitrite, and "Urine Luck" contains pyridinium chlorochromate (PCC). The presence of these adulterants cannot be detected by routine specimen integrity checks (pH, specific gravity, and temperature). We developed rapid spot tests for detecting these adulterants in urine. Addition of 3% hydrogen peroxide in urine adulterated with PCC caused rapid formation of a dark brown color. In contrast, unadulterated urine turned colorless when hydrogen peroxide was added. When urine contaminated with nitrite and 2 to 3 drops of 2N hydrochloric acid were added to 2% aqueous potassium permanganate solution, the dark pink permanganate solution turned colorless immediately with effervescence. Urine contaminated with nitrite liberated iodine from potassium iodide solution in the presence of 2N hydrochloric acid. Urine adulterated with PCC also liberated iodine from potassium iodide in acid medium but did not turn potassium permanganate solution colorless. Urine specimens from volunteers and random urine samples that tested negative for drugs did not cause false-positive results. These rapid spot tests are useful for detecting adulterated urine to avoid false-negative drug tests.

MeSH terms

  • False Negative Reactions
  • Humans
  • Hydrochloric Acid / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Nitrites / chemistry
  • Nitrites / urine
  • Potassium Iodide / chemistry
  • Potassium Permanganate / chemistry
  • Pyridinium Compounds / chemistry
  • Pyridinium Compounds / urine
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Specimen Handling
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Urinalysis / methods*
  • Urine / chemistry*


  • Nitrites
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Potassium Permanganate
  • Potassium Iodide
  • potassium nitrite
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • pyridinium chlorochromate
  • Hydrochloric Acid