Toxicology
Mobile Navigation button

Frequently Asked Questions

Our toxicology experts have resolved questions and concerns for thousands of customers. The information found on this webpage can help answer many common questions and assist you in managing a substance abuse testing program. The questions listed here are constantly updated, expanded, and refined to ensure that you have access to the very latest information.

Commonly Asked Questions

Methods to adulterate urine samples for substance abuse testing generally fall into three categories:

  • Urine substitution – substitution of one’s own urine sample with one which is clean or other products that have a similar appearance to urine.
  • Urine dilution – ingestion of excessive amounts fluids or compounds such as diuretics for flushing out the system
  • Urine adulteration – direct addition of adulterants or masking agents to urine specimen in order to interfere with the test

Screening and confirmation testing are performed using different methodologies that necessitate different cutoff levels. The cutoff levels of an immunoassay screen are typically higher than those of a more sensitive GC-MS or LC-MS/MS confirm test, because they screen for a larger group of parent compounds, metabolites and other structurally similar compounds.

If an immunoassay test detects a drug (above the screening cutoff level) the presumptive positive specimen may be sent to GC-MS or LC-MS/MS confirmation testing. Many times, these individual compounds are present in concentrations much lower than the total immunoassay response, thus resulting for the cutoff levels being lower for the GC-MS or LC-MS/MS test.

Onsite Device Questions

Our in-depth and interactive device training procedures will ensure you and your agency perform effective drug screens in a manner consistent with manufacturer recommendations. Once you've completed the device training, take a quiz to test your knowledge of a specific device. If you pass, you'll receive a Product Training Certificate*.

*PRODUCT TRAINING CERTIFICATE:

Our product training certification ensures that collection, device testing and result interpretation are performed in a manner consistent with manufacturer recommendations. RTL's product training certification is NOT an accredited proficiency certification for DOT or workplace specimen collection/testing. Contact DATIA, SAPAA or Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (DOT) for more information on specimen collection/testing certification.

The on-site device provides only a preliminary analytical test result. A more specific analytical method, preferably liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS), must be used to obtain a confirmed analytical result. Any result, which is contested or used punitively, and especially, if taken to court, must be confirmed. To setup a laboratory confirmation account, contact your sales representative.

If the test is negative, lines appear in the control region (C) and next to each particular drug name in the test region. The negative result indicates that the drug concentration is below the detectable cutoff level. The shade of line in the test region will vary, but it should be considered negative, even if there is a faint line.

IMPORTANT PROCEDURE NOTE: Refer to the manufacturer's product insert for complete instructions, limitations, and warnings.

If the test is presumptive positive, lines appear in the control region (C), and no line appears in the test region next to a particular drug name. This positive result indicates that the drug concentration is above the detectable cutoff level. All positive results are presumptive and should be confirmed by an alternate method (e.g. LC-MS/MS or GC-MS)

IMPORTANT PROCEDURE NOTE: Refer to the manufacturer's product insert for complete instructions, limitations, and warnings.

A control line will be present if the test is working properly. If a control line does not appear, repeat the test with a new device. Insufficient specimen volume or incorrect procedural techniques are most likely the reasons for control line failure. Review the procedure and repeat the test using a new device. If further assistance is required, please contact your sales representative.

IMPORTANT PROCEDURE NOTE: Refer to the manufacturer's product insert for complete instructions, limitations, and warnings.

The on-site screening devices have a shelf life of up to 24 months from the date of manufacture. The expiration date is indicated on each individual foil pouch and can be used up until that date.

IMPORTANT PROCEDURE NOTE: Refer to the manufacturer's product insert for complete instructions, limitations, and warnings.

No, as stated on the "Storage and Stability" section of the product insert, the test device should be stored at 2º to 30ºC (36-86ºF) and will be effective until the expiration date.

IMPORTANT PROCEDURE NOTE: Refer to the manufacturer's product insert for complete instructions, limitations, and warnings.

General Lab Testing Questions

Our laboratories utilize a combination of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and enzyme immunoassay.

Laboratory drug and alcohol test results are often used in legal proceedings. The manner in which specimens are collected and handled is very important. Specimens must be handled and controlled by collection site personnel throughout the collection process. Abbott provides suggested specimen collection and labeling guidelines via the Learning XChange training website. It is the responsibility of individual collection agencies to adopt their own policies and procedures according to their needs in compliance with individual state and federal regulations.

Drug testing cutoff levels are usually expressed in the units of measure ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter). A quantitative positive GC-MS or LC-MS/MS result is commonly expressed in ng/mL.

Urine Lab Testing Questions

Abbott screens urine specimens by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). An immunoassay is a test that uses antibodies to detect the presence of drugs and other substances in urine. The initial screening process does not measure the specific amount of drug present in urine samples. It provides either a positive or negative result, indicating the presence or absence of detectable drug metabolites above a specific cutoff level.

Confirmations are available by gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID), [RS1] gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Based on your agency's account settings, specimens may be confirmed by one or more of the aforementioned methods. GC-MS and LC-MS/MS provides identification of the molecule(s) based on characteristic fragmentation patterns at specific retention times. Contact your sales representative for your agency’s specific cutoff details.

Under normal situations fresh urine will display a temperature between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the temperature strip, if read within 4 minutes of the collection. Should the temperature strip not register, the specimen should be immediately re-checked using a new cup (or strip) and the results recorded on the requisition. Specimens with a temperature out of range may indicate a substituted or adulterated sample.

Creatinine is a metabolic by-product of muscle metabolism, and normally appears in urine in relatively constant quantities over a 24-hour period with "normal" liquid intake. Therefore, urine creatinine can be used as an indicator of urine water content (dilution) or as a marker identifying a specimen as urine. Greater than normal intake of water will increase the urine water content (lowering the creatinine level) consequently diluting any drug which may be present in urine. Conversely, a limited intake of water can lead to an abnormally concentrated urine specimen (as occurs with dehydration) resulting in elevated creatinine levels.

Oral Fluid Lab Testing Questions

Specimens collected with the oral fluid collection device are sent to Abbott for screening by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Positive screens are confirmed by either gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)  or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Contact your sales representative for your agency’s specific cutoff details.

YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXIT THE ABBOTT FAMILY OF WEBSITES FOR A 3RD PARTY WEBSITE

Links which take you out of Abbott worldwide websites are not under the control of Abbott, and Abbott is not responsible for the contents of any such site or any further links from such site. Abbott is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Abbott. The website that you have requested also may not be optimised for your screen size.

DO YOU WISH TO CONTINUE AND EXIT THIS WEBSITE?

False
accessibility

   

YesNo
accessibility

YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXIT THE ABBOTT FAMILY OF WEBSITES FOR A 3RD PARTY WEBSITE

Links which take you out of Abbott worldwide websites are not under the control of Abbott, and Abbott is not responsible for the contents of any such site or any further links from such site. Abbott is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Abbott. The website that you have requested also may not be optimised for your screen size.

DO YOU WISH TO CONTINUE AND EXIT THIS WEBSITE?

YesNo