Worried I tested false-positive on drug test

  1. Hello everyone,

    I just got hired for a job and had to go through the pre-employment screening. I took a urine drug test on a Friday morning. I returned back on Monday morning and they said that my results were still pending. What does that mean? Quest says it takes 24-72 business hours I think to process the results, and since it was done on the weekend, is that reason for the delay? Or does it mean that the test is being re-tested for confirmation? Or maybe the paperwork was just slow in getting back to them?

    I am afraid I tested a false positive because I had been taking a lot of Motrin for bad period cramps around five days before the drug test. I have heard that ibuprofen can produce false positive results. I also had been taking on-and-off Benadryl plus Cold medicine (which contains diphenhydramine, phenylephrine, and acetaminophen) during the week I had my drug test, because I had a cold and lots of chest and sinus congestion. I didn't remember when exactly I took the last benadryl plus cold that week since that week. I still haven't gotten the results back from the toxicology test because I had to collect other doctor's forms/ records to complete my check.

    I remember on one of the health forms it asked what medications I take. I completely forgot to list the Motrin and the Benadryl plus Cold, because I rarely take Motrin (except for bad cramps every month..so I take it around 2 days out of every month), and rarely take cold pills because I am rarely sick. I did however list multivitamins because that is something that I take every single day. I don't know why I forgot to list the Motrin and Benadryl plus Cold...it didn't register with me...and for some reason I was thinking they just wanted to know if I was on any daily medications such as blood pressure pills, cholesterol-lowering drugs, or any such medications that need to be taken daily.

    This is freaking me out a bit. I still do not know the test results so maybe I am just going crazy over nothing. But I want to be prepared in case there was a false-positive. If they say I tested positive, should I just tell them that I forgot to mention that I took Motrin and Benadryl plus Cold medicine that week, and that those meds are known for causing false-positives on drug tests? Should I request a re-test? What if they do not allow me to re-test or tell me "too bad, you forgot to list it on the original medications list you had to fill out with your medical history sheet, so you will not be hired."

    What should I do?

    There was a space listed on the chain-of-command sheet that had a space for putting the Medical Review Officer's name, but there was no name listed under there. Should I request who the Medical Review Officer is and if that person reviewed my case?

    Thank you so much for your help! Maybe I am freaking out over nothing but I have read a lot of posts on here about employees testing false-positives because they were taking cold pills or were on other medications. My case is a little more complicated because I forgot to mention these meds that I rarely take.

    If you are unfamiliar with things that cause false-positives, please check out this pharmacology school's website
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 3, '18 : Reason: removed repeat sentence
  2. Visit RDRN5 profile page

    About RDRN5

    Joined: Jun '12; Posts: 4; Likes: 2


  3. by   Horsebytes
    I wouldn't worry about stuff that could happen... you'll just worry all the time about everything. Cross bridges when you get to them.

    Over half the stuff people worry about never happens anyway!

    It's ok...
    Have some ice cream.
  4. by   Meriwhen
    Ah yes, good old Motrin...it has the potential to cause a false positive, and so can diphenhydramine. But there are drug tests (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) that can distinguish whether your positive is due to OTCs or due to a legitimate (?) reason. Some places run a follow-up to a positive test automatically; for others, it may have to be requested by your employer. So don't stress just yet.

    First, wait and see if you get a false positive. While ibuprofen or other OTCs can cause a false positive, it's not very likely. I've taken ibuprofen and Nyquil before drug tests and it has never been an issue for me. Sometimes I was asked to disclose prior meds before testing; other times, I was not. Point being, no one has ever called me to say I failed the test.

    If you do get the positive, then go and talk to someone to explain the OTC use, and request more extensive follow-up testing.

    In the future, if you are asked to list medications before the test, list ANYTHING you have taken in the last week, be it prescription, OTC, herbal or homeopathic.

    Last, should you test positive for something that you did in fact use illegally, keep in mind that the "it's a false-positive from the Motrin!" isn't going to fly...all they need to do is run the gas chromatography and find out exactly what you've taken. Not implying that you did use something you shouldn't have...just throwing it in there for the sake of completing arguments.

    Hang in there!
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Jun 10, '12
  5. by   RDRN5
    Thank you for your replies. Hopefully all is well and nothing bad will come up. Next time will definitely write down a list of everything I take.

    Nope haven't been using anything illegally. The only thing I use to relax once in a while is a glass of red wine, and that's probably just once or twice a week.

    Thanks for your help. Will keep you updated on what happens
  6. by   jkr2020788
    Unless you were taking an amount WAY over what you should have been, you should be fine. There is a "safe" cut-off for OTC motrin that makes you not test positive on drug screens. Next time, I would take the prescribed amount that is on the bottle to avoid this, if not, you are "technically" abusing a drug (even though we all do it) *abuse (websters)- improper or excessive use or treatment*. If this is not enough relief, talk to your MD.

    Nonetheless you will be fine as long as you arent taking any drugs you shouldnt be. Motrin will likely show up as a false positive for THC, which can easily be confirmed through further testing by the lab or they can even use a hair strand if you appeal.
  7. by   sauconyrunner
    24-72 business hours. so that does not include Sat and Sunday and getting the results to the business. relax.
  8. by   RDRN5
    Thank you everyone for your replies and suggestions to chill out. The test went fine, I passed. I think I was just psyching myself out. But it is always best to be prepared just in case. And I learned a whole lot about this topic as I researched it, so that was good.

    The lesson I learned is always list everything and anything I am on, just in case! Thanks again.
  9. by   Horsebytes
    Ooooo can I say, "I told you so!" and give you a big ol cyber hug!