Faculty Articles

Urine Drug Screens: Considerations for the Psychiatric Pharmacist

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Ment Health Clin





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Introduction: Proper psychiatric evaluation of patients necessitates that the clinician be vigilant in ruling out secondary causes of symptoms, such as substance-induced symptoms. Immunoassay-type urine drug screens (UDSs) offer clinicians rapid drug screen results, ease of use, and inexpensive cost. Unfortunately, these screens are not without their limitations. This review aims to outline the nuances and limitations of immunoassay UDSs and to provide the clinician with information that facilitates more accurate interpretation of UDS results. Specifically, false positive results associated with psychiatric medications and the availability and methods for acquisition of commercialized UDS masking agents will be reviewed.

Methods: A literature review was conducted to identify false positive UDSs associated with psychiatric medications. References for each article identified were also reviewed. Additionally, a Google® search was conducted to identify commercially available preparations used to mask UDS results and the methods of acquisition of these products.

Results: A total of 14 articles were identified using PubMed. No articles for mood stabilizing agents were identified. Entering the phrase

Discussion: Several psychiatric medications are documented as potential sources of false positive UDSs. Additionally, several agents are available for consumer purchase that may result in false negative UDSs. The clinician must be vigilant in interpreting immunoassay UDS results and should utilize more advanced forms of testing as clinically appropriate.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

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