False-positive Interferences of Common Urine Drug Screen Immunoassays: A Review

J Anal Toxicol. 2014 Sep;38(7):387-96. doi: 10.1093/jat/bku075. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Abstract

Urine drug screen (UDS) immunoassays are a quick and inexpensive method for determining the presence of drugs of abuse. Many cross-reactivities exist with other analytes, potentially causing a false-positive result in an initial drug screen. Knowledge of these potential interferents is important in determining a course of action for patient care. We present an inclusive review of analytes causing false-positive interferences with drugs-of-abuse UDS immunoassays, which covers the literature from the year 2000 to present. English language articles were searched via the SciFinder platform with the strings 'false positive [drug] urine' yielding 173 articles. These articles were then carefully analyzed and condensed to 62 that included data on causes of false-positive results. The discussion is separated into six sections by drug class with a corresponding table of cross-reacting compounds for quick reference. False-positive results were described for amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, tricyclic antidepressants, phencyclidine, lysergic acid diethylamide and barbiturates. These false-positive results support the generally accepted practice that immunoassay positive results are considered presumptive until confirmed by a second independent chemical technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / urine*
  • Immunoassay
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / standards
  • Substance-Related Disorders / urine*

Substances

  • Illicit Drugs