Case Studies: CASE ONE

Lauren S. Schlesselman, PharmD
Published Online: Wednesday, June 1, 2005

A mother and her daughter approach the counseling booth at ABC Pharmacy. The mother is frantically waving a home drug-testing kit.

The mother explains to the pharmacist that she bought the test that morning and insisted that her daughter use the test. Her daughter's best friend had just been expelled from school for possession of illegal drugs. She wanted to make sure her daughter was not using drugs, too.

As she shows the test to the pharmacist, the mother starts to cry because the test was positive for amphetamines. The daughter begins insisting that she does not use drugs and that the test must be wrong. The mother wants the pharmacist to inform her daughter that these tests are accurate.

In an attempt to sort out the situation, the pharmacist asks if the daughter takes any prescription or OTC medications. The daughter says she takes ibuprofen for menstrual cramps and pseudoephedrine and loratadine for seasonal allergies.

What information about "false positives" can the pharmacist provide considering the daughter's medications?

Dr. Schlesselman is a clinical pharmacist based in Niantic, Conn.

Click Here For The Answer -----------> [-]

Despite the accuracy of these tests, the pharmacist should counsel the mother and daughter that false positives are possible. Urine drug tests for amphetamines can falsely report "positive" in patients taking pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and certain dietary supplements. If the mother and daughter wish, a confirmatory blood screen should be performed at a local laboratory or doctor's office.

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