Evidence-Based Reviews

Urine drug tests: How to make the most of them

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In summary, UDTs are important tools to use in general psychiatry practice, especially when prescribing controlled substances. To use UDTs effectively, it is essential to possess knowledge of drug metabolism and the limitations of these tests. All immunoassay results should be considered as presumptive, and confirmatory tests are often needed for making treatment decisions. Many clinicians are unlikely to possess all the knowledge needed to correctly interpret UDTs, and in some cases, communication with qualified laboratory professionals may be necessary. In addition, the patient’s history and clinical presentation, collateral information, and data from prescription drug monitoring programs are all important factors to consider.

The cost of UDTs, variable insurance coverage, and a lack of on-site laboratory services can be deterrents to implementing UDTs as recommended. These factors vary significantly across regions, facilities, and insurance providers (see Related Resources). If faced with these issues and you expect to often need UDTs in your practice, consider using point-of-care UDTs as an alternative to improve access, convenience, and possibly cost.

Bottom Line

Urine drug tests (UDTs) should be standard clinical practice when prescribing controlled substances and treating patients with substance use disorders in the outpatient setting. Clinicians need to be knowledgeable about the limitations of UDTs, drug metabolism, and relevant patient history to interpret UDTs proficiently for optimal patient care. Consult laboratory specialists when needed to help interpret the results.

Related Resources

Drug Brand Names

Alprazolam • Xanax
Amphetamine • Adderall
Atomoxetine • Strattera
Buprenorphine • Subutex
Buprenorphine/naloxone • Suboxone, Zubsolv
Bupropion • Wellbutrin, Zyban
Chlordiazepoxide • Librium
Chlorpromazine • Thorazine
Clonazepam • Klonopin
Desipramine • Norpramin
Dextroamphetamine • Dexedrine, ProCentra
Diazepam • Valium
Doxepin • Silenor
Dronabinol • Marinol
Efavirenz • Sustiva
Ephedrine • Akovaz
Fentanyl • Actiq, Duragesic
Flurazepam • Dalmane
Hydrocodone • Hysingla, Zohydro ER
Hydromorphone • Dilaudid, Exalgo
Labetalol • Normodyne, Trandate
Lamotrigine • Lamictal
Lisdexamfetamine • Vyvanse
Lithium • Eskalith, Lithobid
Lorazepam • Ativan
Meperidine • Demerol
Metformin • Fortamet, Glucophage
Methadone • Dolophine, Methadose
Methylphenidate • Ritalin
Midazolam • Versed
Morphine • Kadian, MorphaBond
Nabilone • Cesamet
Naltrexone • Vivitrol
Oxaprozin • Daypro
Oxazepam • Serax
Oxycodone • Oxycontin
Oxymorphone • Opana
Phentermine • Adipex-P, Ionamin
Promethazine • Phenergan
Quetiapine • Seroquel
Ranitidine • Zantac
Rifampicin • Rifadin
Selegiline • Eldepryl, Zelapar
Sertraline • Zoloft
Temazepam • Restoril
Thioridazine • Mellaril
Tramadol • Conzip, Ultram
Trazodone • Desyrel
Triazolam • Halcion
Venlafaxine • Effexor
Verapamil • Calan, Verelan
Zolpidem • Ambien

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