Adulterants in Urine Drug Testing

Adv Clin Chem. 2016:76:123-63. doi: 10.1016/bs.acc.2016.05.003. Epub 2016 Jun 11.


Urine drug testing plays an important role in monitoring licit and illicit drug use for both medico-legal and clinical purposes. One of the major challenges of urine drug testing is adulteration, a practice involving manipulation of a urine specimen with chemical adulterants to produce a false negative test result. This problem is compounded by the number of easily obtained chemicals that can effectively adulterate a urine specimen. Common adulterants include some household chemicals such as hypochlorite bleach, laundry detergent, table salt, and toilet bowl cleaner and many commercial products such as UrinAid (glutaraldehyde), Stealth® (containing peroxidase and peroxide), Urine Luck (pyridinium chlorochromate, PCC), and Klear® (potassium nitrite) available through the Internet. These adulterants can invalidate a screening test result, a confirmatory test result, or both. To counteract urine adulteration, drug testing laboratories have developed a number of analytical methods to detect adulterants in a urine specimen. While these methods are useful in detecting urine adulteration when such activities are suspected, they do not reveal what types of drugs are being concealed. This is particularly the case when oxidizing urine adulterants are involved as these oxidants are capable of destroying drugs and their metabolites in urine, rendering the drug analytes undetectable by any testing technology. One promising approach to address this current limitation has been the use of unique oxidation products formed from reaction of drug analytes with oxidizing adulterants as markers for monitoring drug misuse and urine adulteration. This novel approach will ultimately improve the effectiveness of the current urine drug testing programs.

Keywords: Adulterant; Amphetamine; Cannabis; Cocaine; Drugs of abuse; Opiate; Urine adulteration; Urine drug testing; Urine manipulation.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Contamination
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / urine*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / standards*
  • Urinalysis / methods*
  • Urinalysis / standards*


  • Illicit Drugs