Screening for Prescribed Medications

This test checks for the presence of one or more medications in the blood, urine or saliva.




This test checks for the presence of one or more medications in the blood, urine or saliva.



This drug screening checks for the presence of one or more medications in the blood, urine or saliva. The type of sample depends on:

  • The reason for the test
  • What medication the requestor is looking for
  • The period of time during which a drug will test positive depends on the type of sample, how much of the drug a person has taken and the person's metabolism.

  • A blood sample is commonly used to screen for prescription drugs. It can also be used to measure the blood level of alcohol and over-the-counter medications. The level may be needed to determine the correct dosage of a medication or if there is suspected abuse or overdose.
  • A urine sample may be requested to see if a medication has been taken in the previous two to three days. However, marijuana and its end products can be present in the urine for several weeks.
  • A saliva sample can determine if a medication has been used in the previous twenty-four hours.
  • Testing for medications can be done for several different reasons. These include:

    • Medical screening, including suspected abuse or overdose
    • Legal information, including checking for illegal drug abuse and court-mandated testing (may have specific rules for collection and transport)
    • Employment drug testing, such a pre-employment, post-accident and random screening (may have specific rules for collection and transport)
    • Testing of athletes for performance enhancing (may have specific rules for collection and transport)

    If a blood sample is required, the costs in this care path do not include the charge to draw blood from a vein (venipuncture). There will only be one charge to draw blood, even if multiple tests are being performed on the samples that are taken.

    What should I ask before having this test?

    • What type of sample is required for the test you are recommending?
    • Is there any special preparation for the test? (If so, get clear steps to follow.)
    • Are there any medications or types of food that can affect the test results?

    Source UHC.com

    Also known as:

    Drug Screening
    Screening for Prescribed Medications
    Laboratory Work


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