Abnormal Laboratory Results: Drug screens

Nicholas A . Buckley
2001 Australian Prescriber  
SYNOPSIS The two types of drug screens are rapid tests and specific assays. Rapid tests are for a restricted range of substances (usually just drugs of abuse) and have limited sensitivity and specificity. When there are important medicolegal considerations, the results must be confirmed by more specific assays. Specific assays are labour-intensive tests that can detect most drugs but take much longer to perform. They are required where the concentration of the drug may lead to specific
more » ... o specific interventions (such as in certain overdoses). Conversely, even the most comprehensive negative screen cannot entirely rule out drug ingestion as some substances are difficult to detect. The knowledge of the laboratory staff should be utilised when ordering and interpreting the tests.
doi:10.18773/austprescr.2001.098 fatcat:vqpt7v623bdxxjompu74gugv7e