Refraining from the use of illegal drugs is an important part of maintaining your medical license. So when someone lodges an accusation that you have been ingesting illegal drugs or abusing medication, your superiors may ask you to submit to a urine screening. However, a urine test might not always be accurate.
A urine test might register a false positive, meaning it shows the presence of controlled substances in your system even if you have never used drugs in any illegal capacity. This outcome could severely damage the defense of your license. That is why you should know the different factors that might throw off a urine screening.
Inadequate cut off levels
As Medical News Daily points out, one problem with urine tests is that they may test positive for drugs you had ingested as part of food that you ate. In uncommon instances, poppy seeds may cause a urine test to detect opium. Some foods also contain levels of coca or hemp. To get around this problem, urine tests contain cut-off levels that take a legitimate amount of drug content into account. However, a urine test with an inadequate cut-off level could falsely implicate you.
The FDA describes some issues that may throw off the accuracy of at-home urine tests. These issues might also come up with a work urine test. Possible factors include the following:
- What you ate or drank prior to the test
- Any medication you took before the test
- The administration of the test
- The storage of the urine
To take a specific example, a urine test may show that you have amphetamine present in your system. However, there are some medications you can buy over the counter that could produce a result identical to an illegal amphetamine substance. A consideration like this is why taking a urine test right away may not be in your best interest.