Dimethylamylamine: a drug causing positive immunoassay results for amphetamines

J Anal Toxicol. 2011 Apr;35(3):183-7. doi: 10.1093/anatox/35.3.183.


The Department of Defense (DoD) operates six forensic urine drug-testing laboratories that screen close to 5 million urine samples for amphetamines yearly. Recently, the DoD laboratories have observed a significant decrease in the confirmation rates for amphetamines because of specimens screening positive by two separate immunoassays and confirming negative by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Previous studies conducted by the Division of Forensic Toxicology, Armed Force Institute of Pathology (AFIP) utilizing a GC-MS basic drug screen and a designer drug screen revealed no common compound or compound classes as to the cause of the immunoassay-positive results. Additional information obtained from an immunoassay vendor suggested the anorectic compound dimethylamylamine (DMAA) may be the cause of the false-positive screens. An additional 134 false-positive samples were received and analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) for DMAA. LC-MS-MS analysis revealed the presence of DMAA in 92.3% of the false-positive samples at a concentration of approximately 6.0 mg/L DMAA, causing a positive screen on both immunoassay kits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amines
  • Amphetamines / urine*
  • Appetite Depressants / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / standards
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Amines
  • Amphetamines
  • Appetite Depressants
  • n-amylamine