What is a Urinalysis?

A urinalysis is a specific protocol used to determine the presence of foreign, abnormal, or banned substances that would be absent in a normal urine specimen. Urinalysis is usually performed in two steps:

Preliminary screening involves the use of urine drug test cups, i.e. 10-panel urine test dups, urine dip cards, also known as urine dipsticks. These instant urine tests are often used to detect the presence of drug metabolites within a few minutes of obtaining a urine specimen, making these tools especially useful for immediate action, whether that may be to monitor patient compliance or confirm a reasonable suspicion.

Confirmation testing with Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis is performed in a SAMHSA-certified laboratory to ascertain the results of a preliminary drug screen.

Types of Urine Drug Tests

The most common urine drug test formats are urine test cups and urine dip cards. Dip strips and urine cassettes are also used, but most experts prefer the sanitation and efficiency offered by urine cups and dipsticks.

Urine drug test cups are available in multiple panel configurations to allow administrators to test for up to 16 drugs at once. Drug test brands like DrugConfirm Advanced provide the additional flexibility of different drug combinations.

What Can a Urine Test Detect?

Urine drug tests can detect any number of drug metabolites from substances like including synthetic drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications to name a few.

Most urine drug test cups can determine drug use in just a few minutes. Instant urine tests are a necessary staple for medical providers, staffing professionals, and workplace compliance agents.

Reading a Drug Test

It's very easy to read and interpret a drug test cup. A urine test cup, i.e. the 10-panel iCup urine drug test, will have 10 built-in strips corresponding to 10 different drugs of abuse.

reading drug test image

If the test is fully functional and comes back NEGATIVE, a total of 20 colored strips should appear (10 in each Test Region and 10 in each Control Region).

If the test comes back POSITIVE, there should be a line in each Control Region, but no line in the Test Region of the specific drug used by the donor.

How long does a urine drug test take?

Instant urine test cups require no more than a few minutes from start to finish. Simply collect a urine specimen and hand the urine test cup to the collector for immediate interpretation.