Rapid drug screening should be done after a careful choice of the sample that will be used for the qualitative analysis. The choice of the test method will decide on the sample that will be collected for the drug info screen. The drug screen can be a urine drug screen or a saliva drug screen based on the testing pattern that is most suitable for the detection.
In any drug screen test the best choice of sample, collection, storage, analytical pattern and time frame for the analysis should be pre-determined. The major factor that will interfere in this decision making will be specificity of the assay. Specificity of any drug testing methodology is the competency of the test assay to identify the presence of the compound in the presence of other components that might probably cross react. The level of accuracy and the precision of the test method will be influenced by degradants, metabolism, impurities and the biological matrix.
The drug screening method has 2 steps, one is the preliminary analysis and the next is the confirmatory analysis. The preliminary analysis is mostly rapid and it will provide with a qualitative analysis which will indicate the presence of absence of a compound in the sample. Pseudo-qualitative analysis will dictate the presence or absence of a compound based on a pre-determined cutoff level. The rapid drug screening method analyses the major drug class and the exact drug entity will be identified by the confirmatory analysis. Most of the preliminary testing methods are onsite and can be done with test strips and instant testing methods that are mostly of the dipstick type that declares positives and negatives.
The rapid drug screening method detects the drugs by using antibodies that binds to the binding site of the target drug. The binding site design is unique to a particular class of drugs and the immunoassay is based on with the antibiotics that will bind to the target binding sites of the drug that is being targeted for identification by using that particular assay. A positive result for any drug testing method in an immunoassay indicates the drug to be positive, which is in all cases above the cut off concentration for the assay. Such a positive warrants further confirmatory tests. The purpose of having a cutoff concentration is to limit the number of false-positives caused by the interference by cross reacting substances.
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