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Monitoring Options Expand for Therapeutic Agents and Drugs of Abuse

ing of pregnant women with a history of drug abuse may be useful as an educational tool and help guide treatment of the newborn. Some employers require a drug screen as part of an employment or pre-employment physical. Nearly all workers in some occupations, such as law enforcement and transportation, are subject to periodic, random, and post-incident drug screening.

The most commonly used test method for screening urine for drugs of abuse is immunoassay. In larger laboratories, the tests are often performed on the highly automated analyzers, which also perform other urine and blood chemistries. Methods are also available for several smaller batch-type chemistry analyzers. Radioimmunoassay can be used for large batches of samples.

A number of single use devices incorporating immunoassays and designed to be used outside of the traditional laboratory have become available. These devices require FDA approval to be sold in the United States, and their use in non-medical environments such as workplaces and halfway houses for criminals may be regulated by state laws. They are generally acceptable for use in the office practice environment. Some home use drug testing kits are also being sold. These generally are not testing devices themselves, but are specimen containers which are to be filled and sent to a central laboratory, where the actual testing is done. The price of the kit includes the testing.

In the drugs of abuse category, several firms produce test kits that can be used in point of care settings to monitor drug free status or in the pre-employment setting to rule out illegal drug use.

A1 UA Test Kits from Transmetron, Salt Lake City, Utah, are based in a self-contained urinalysis drug test process that detects the presence of drug metabolites in urine within minutes. The kits cup contains detection strips designed to test for a particular drug at NIDA cut-off levels. It provides instant results using a technology similar to that fo
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