How Antidepressants Show Up on a Drug Test

  1. How Long Does Trazodone Stay In Your System? — Bedrock
  2. Factors that Affect How Long Trazodone Stays in Your Body
  3. How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Urine?
  4. How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Hair?
  5. How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Blood?
  6. How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Saliva?
  7. How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Lab Tests?
  8. Risks Associated With Trazodone
  9. Sources
  10. Lexapro Half-Life: How Long Does It Stay In Your System?
  11. How Does Lexapro Work?
  12. Lexapro Half-Life
  13. How Long Does Escitalopram Stay In Blood?
  14. How Long Does Lexapro Stay In Urine?
  15. How Long Does Escitalopram Stay In Saliva?
  16. How Long Does Lexapro Stay in Hair?
  17. Factors That Influence How Long Escitalopram Stays In The Body
  18. Age/Sex
  19. Body Mass / Metabolic Rate / Genetics
  20. Medical Condition
  21. The Frequency/Duration Of Drug Administration
  22. Drug Dosage
  23. Co-administered Drugs
  24. Will Lexapro Show up In a Standard Pre-Employment Drug Test?
  25. Lexapro Detox And Getting Lexapro The System Safely
  26. Related Topics
  27. Page Sources
  28. 8 medications that can make you test positive for drugs
  29. What is a false positive drug test?
  30. 8 medications that cause false positive drug tests
  31. 1. Analgesics/ NSAIDS
  32. 2. Antibiotics 
  33. 3. Antidepressants
  34. 4. Antihistamines 
  35. 5. Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants 
  36. 6. Cough suppressant 
  37. 7. Decongestants
  38. 8. Proton pump inhibitors
  39. 5 common substances that can cause false positives
  40. 1. Vitamin B supplements
  41. 2. CBD (cannabidiol)
  42. 3. Poppy seeds
  43. 4. Mouthwash
  44. 5. Tonic water
  45. What to do if you have a false positive drug test
  46. How to avoid a false positive drug test and the factors that can cause it
  47. Hemp
  48. Quinine
  49. Pseudoephedrine
  50. Ibuprofen
  51. Poppy seeds
  52. Coca Tea
  53. Second-hand cannabis smoke
  54. Antidepressants
  55. Diet pills
  56. Antibiotics
  57. Antipsychotic drugs
  58. Conclusion

How Long Does Trazodone Stay In Your System? — Bedrock

How Antidepressants Show Up on a Drug Test

Trazodone, known by the brand name as Desyrel, is a type of antidepressant. It’s classified as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI). The medication is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat major depressive and anxiety disorders. It’s also used to help with sleep disorders. 

If you take Trazodone, you may wonder how long it stays in your system. It could be for various reasons. For example, you may not want an antidepressant showing up on a pre-employment drug test. 

Also, as with many antidepressants, Trazodone can have some negative side effects. Stopping or altering your dosage can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

So how long does Trazodone stay in your system? Well, it depends. 

Factors that Affect How Long Trazodone Stays in Your Body

Trazodone has a half-life between five and 9 hours. This means it will take your body (on average) around seven hours to eliminate half of the drug.

In a healthy adult, a single dosage of Trazodone can remain in the body for one to three days. 

But, this is not the same for everyone. There are many factors that influence how long this drug can stay in your system, including:

  • Dosage: The higher the dose, the longer Trazodone metabolites remain in your system. Smaller doses are generally, excreted faster than larger doses.
  • Age: Some studies show the half-life of Trazodone is longer in older adults.
  • Weight: Body mass and fat can affect how fast the drug metabolizes and how it’s stored in fat cells.
  • Frequency of use: Taking the drug over an extended period of time means it will take longer to leave your system.
  • Last time taken: Certain tests can detect it only after a few hours or days of taking it. Others can detect it after three months.
  • Genetics and metabolism: These influence liver function and the enzymes that metabolize Trazodone.

Another variable to consider is the type of drug test. Read on to learn how long the medication can stay in your urine, hair, blood, and saliva.

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Urine?

Urine tests are the most popular type of drug screening. Antidepressants generally are not considered to be addictive substances. Most drug screenings don’t screen for them. 

But, certain antidepressants can create cross-reactions that producefalse-positive results in drug tests. Trazodone is one of those medications.

Your body can eliminate the parent drug Trazodone in about two days. But, after you ingest Trazodone, it breaks down into metabolites. These linger for in your body for much longer.

Trazodone metabolites can produce false-positive results for amphetamines in a urine test for up to 26 days.

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Hair?

The Trazodone metabolites get stored in fast-growing cells, such as hair.

Hair tests can detect drugs for an extended period of time, including antidepressants. They can detect Trazodone metabolites in hair for at least 90 days. 

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Blood?

Blood tests can trace compounds of Trazodone in blood tests for up to three days from the last time taken. 

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your Saliva?

Saliva tests can detect drugs within a couple of hours of administration. This means that, through a saliva test, it’s possible to detect Trazodone quicker than it would be through urine tests.

Trazodone metabolites are detectable in saliva tests for a longer duration than blood tests. Saliva tests can detect these metabolites for up to four days after the last time taken.

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Lab Tests?

Again, Trazodone and other antidepressants are rare for regular drug screenings. But, it is possible for labs to test for Trazodone.

How long the drug is detectable for depends on the type of test administered. To summarize:

  • Urine: Two days for the parent drug Trazodone and up to 26 days for its metabolites.
  • Hair: Up to three months.
  • Blood: Three days.
  • Saliva: Between a few hours and four days.

Risks Associated With Trazodone

There is little evidence to suggest that trazodone is an addictive medication. But there are some serious risks and side effects associated with Trazodone, including:

  • Overdose: This is any dosage above 600 mg within 24 hours.
  • Withdrawal: A person taking Trazodone over an extended period of time can develop a tolerance. When dosage lowers, there is also the potential of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This includes anxiety, agitation, and sleep disturbance.
  • Serotonin Syndrome. This is a rare but serious effect that can happen when the body experiences too much serotonin.

As with any antidepressant, Trazodone can cause some dangerous and uncomfortable side effects. While it’s not considered an addictive substance by the FDA, there is a potential for abuse.

If you or a loved one is struggling with withdrawal symptoms, you’re not alone. Reach out to Bedrock Recovery Center today and start living a happier, healthier life!



Lexapro Half-Life: How Long Does It Stay In Your System?

How Antidepressants Show Up on a Drug Test

Lexapro (generic Escitalopram) is an oral medication used for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in adults and adolescents. As per the estimates of 2017’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 17.3 million adults (7.

1% of the adult population) and 3.2 million adolescents (13.3% of the adolescent population) in the United States have experienced at least one major depressive episode, thus making antidepressants the 3rd most common prescription medication taken by U.S. residents.

Most of those affected use conventional antidepressants such as Escitalopram as part of their medical treatment. This article will discuss Lexapro mechanism of action and half-life. It will also answer one of the most commonly asked questions about the drug: how long does Lexapro take to work?

How Does Lexapro Work?

Escitalopram, an atypical antipsychotic medication, is categorized as an antidepressant and belongs to the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drug class.

As the name suggests, these medications prevent the reuptake of a neurotransmitter called serotonin at the junctions between nerve cells in the brain. Escitalopram is a very potent SSRI, up to 40 times more powerful than R-citalopram, the other enantiomer of the drug.

As a highly selective inhibitor, it helps improve MDD (major depressive disorder) patients’ depressive symptoms without affecting other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine or dopamine.

By inhibiting the neurotransmitter’s reuptake, the drug allows for increased levels of serotonin to remain at the synapse (nerve junction), thereby improving mood, behavior, sleep, appetite, and other symptoms of anxiety and depression.

This antidepressant is known to have a predictable tolerability profile of mild to moderate adverse effects as well as a low tendency for drug interactions – something that could be beneficial for the treatment of patients with comorbidities.

Of course, Escitalopram may not work for some, and it is not uncommon for it to stop working after some time.

Even if that’s the case, taking Escitalopram must not be suddenly stopped unless advised by a doctor as it may cause withdrawal symptoms such as unwanted feelings, difficulty in controlling movements, and strange sensations, among others.

Lexapro Half-Life

Escitalopram half-life is the amount of time it takes for half the amount of the drug ingested to be eliminated from the body. Concerning how long does Lexapro stay in your system, it should be noted that it takes about five half-lives for a drug to be 99% cleared from the body.

Escitalopram half-life is about 27 to 32 hours, so it will take about 150 hours or a little more than six days for Lexapro to be eliminated from the body.

The half-life of Lexapro is one reason why many long-term users are concerned whether the drug test will show the presence of the antidepressant in the body.

How Long Does Escitalopram Stay In Blood?

Escitalopram half-life affects the length of time it stays in the system. Given the 27 to 32-hour half-life of Lexapro and how it takes about five half-lives for it to be reduced to undetectable levels, Escitalopram will be present in the blood for up to 6.1 days after taking the last dose.

An individual’s daily dose and the duration of their medical treatment will also influence how quickly the drug will be expelled from the system. However, how long it takes to get rid of Escitalopram is not affected by the time one takes the drug, though there is no best time to take Lexapro.

It is essential to take it at the same time every day as prescribed by your physician.

How Long Does Lexapro Stay In Urine?

How long until Escitalopram is the urinary system will depend on some factors. Escitalopram is metabolized in the liver into S-DCT and S-didemethylcitalopram (S-DDCT) and is excreted through the kidneys (18%).

A urine test will show a positive result for Lexapro 27 to 32 hours after it has been consumed.

Steady-state plasma concentration is achieved in about one week, and two factors that influence this length of time are the Lexapro half-life itself and the even longer half-life of the drug’s primary metabolites.

This means that it will take slightly longer to get Lexapro the urinary system, and a urine test may show the presence of Escitalopram for up to one week after the last dose because of the stored residual metabolites. Factors such as dosage, age, and existing medical conditions will also affect how fast Lexapro is metabolized.

How Long Does Escitalopram Stay In Saliva?

The amount of time Escitalopram stays in saliva or whether it stays there is unknown. It is also one of the antidepressants that may result in false-positive tests.

However, suppose it does stay in saliva.

In that case, it can be assumed that the detection window is considerably smaller compared to how long it stays in the urine, as this is how most drugs’ detection windows are determined.

How Long Does Lexapro Stay in Hair?

The amount of time Escitalopram stays in hair follicles is unknown as well. It has not been studied, and therefore, there is no evidence to determine this. Additionally, the presence of antidepressants in the hair is not usually tested for as they are not considered as drugs of abuse.

Factors That Influence How Long Escitalopram Stays In The Body

Different factors affect how long it takes drugs such as Lexapro to be flushed the system; they include factors such as the patient’s age, existing medical conditions, the duration in which the drug has been consumed, and the amount of drug taken. Lexapro half-life will vary according to the kind of specimen used as well; this shall be reviewed below.


Lexapro half-life in adolescents and adults are similar.

Meanwhile, pharmacokinetic studies have found that in the elderly, specifically those who are 65 years of age or above, Lexapro half-life is increased by around 50% compared to adolescent and adult patients in both single-dose and multiple-dose studies. It is unknown whether gender influences how long Escitalopram stays in the system.

Body Mass / Metabolic Rate / Genetics

Body mass, metabolic rate, and genetics are usually among the factors that affect how long drugs stay in the system. However, with regard to “How long does Lexapro stay in your system?”, there is currently not enough information to say for sure. These factors’ effects on the metabolism of Lexapro are yet to be studied.

Medical Condition

In patients with liver disease or lower than normal hepatic function, Escitalopram half-life is doubled. That said, eliminating the drug will take longer for them than for patients with healthy livers.

For people with mild to moderate kidney problems or reduced renal function, the length of time it takes for Escitalopram to be cleared from the body is 17% more than patients with healthy kidneys.

The pharmacokinetics of the drug in those with severe kidney problems have not been studied, though.

The Frequency/Duration Of Drug Administration

As with other drugs, it may take longer for Escitalopram to be eliminated from the system of someone who has been taking it for a long time than someone who only took it for a short while. However, it is important to note that there is currently no evidence to back this hypothesis and that it is only how most drugs work.

Drug Dosage

Lexapro has no inhibitory effect on the cytochrome CYP2D6, an important enzyme involved in eliminating most drugs, including Escitalopram, after administering multiple dosages.

This suggests that drug dosage has no significant effect on its elimination.

Nevertheless, even though this drug is considered to be one of the safest antidepressants, Escitalopram overdose may occur if the patient consumes the potentially toxic amount of the substance.

Co-administered Drugs

in vitro enzyme inhibition data, Escitalopram has little effect on the metabolism mediated by several chromosomes, such as on CYP3A4, -1A2, -2C9, -2C19, and -2E1. Hence, it is expected that co-administered drugs have little to no effect on its elimination.

Will Lexapro Show up In a Standard Pre-Employment Drug Test?

For many people taking Escitalopram, there is usually a concern about going through a standard pre-employment drug test and how it will affect their prospects of getting hired.

First, it is important to understand that it is not among the drugs screened for in a standard drug test.

And again, antidepressants are not considered drugs of abuse, so employers have little or no reason at all to test their employees for Escitalopram.

Lexapro Detox And Getting Lexapro The System Safely

Suddenly going off antidepressants is not recommended. In most cases, this triggers withdrawal and discontinuation symptoms such as anxiety, worsened depression, malaise, lethargy, sleep and sensory disturbances, and migraines.

Symptoms that may arise from abruptly stopping taking Escitalopram are generally not life-threatening but know that it increases the risks of a depression relapse.

It’s just not a good idea, given that depressive disorders are why Lexapro is prescribed to patients.

Making the decision to stop taking antidepressants should not be done without professional help and support. The good news is that there are many drug addiction treatment options available.

Qualified detox specialists and medical professionals will make sure to flush it from the patient’s body safely to avoid possible withdrawal symptoms and adverse reactions. In case of severe dependence, rehab from drugs can also be required.

Talking to a physician or seeking assistance from an addiction center may prove helpful.

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Page Sources

  1. Brahm, N., Yeager, L., Fox, M., Farmer, K., & Palmer, T. (2010). Commonly prescribed medications and potential false-positive urine drug screens. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.
  2. DailyMed. (2020, August 1). Lexapro- escitalopram tablet, film coated; Lexapro- escitalopram solution.

    From DailyMed:

  3. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, March 25). Going off antidepressants. From Harvard Health Publishing:
  4. Jacquot, C.

    , David, D., Gardier, A., & Sánchez, C. (2007). Escitalopram and citalopram: the unexpected role of the R-enantiomer. L'Encephale.

  5. Medline Plus. (2020, December 15). Escitalopram. From Medline Plus:
  6. National Institute of Mental Health. (2019, February).

    Major Depression. From National Institute of Mental Health:

  7. Pelissolo, A. (2008). Efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram in anxiety disorders: a review. L'Encephale.
  8. Waugh, J., & Goa, K. (2003).

    Escitalopram : a review of its use in the management of major depressive and anxiety disorders. CNS Drugs.

  9. Wehrwein, P. (2011, October 20). Astounding increase in antidepressant use by Americans. From Harvard Health Publishing:


Published on: February 20th, 2019

Updated on: April 12th, 2021

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


8 medications that can make you test positive for drugs

How Antidepressants Show Up on a Drug Test

There are several instances where you may be asked to complete a drug test—when you’re applying for a new job, or if you are a student or an athlete. Urine drug screens are the most common test (although other body fluids may be analyzed).

The test itself is simple and painless, and only requires a urine sample.

It can feel a little unnerving to be asked to take a drug test, and it is important to know that there are some medications and other substances that could cause a false positive drug test. 

What is a false positive drug test?

A “false positive” result occurs when the analytical drug detection method recognizes some of the molecules in the body as illegal drugs when you haven’t ingested anything illegal. Drugs that are typically screened for include amphetamines/methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, methadone, and opioids (narcotics).

Research conducted at Boston Medical Center shows that drug tests produce false positives in 5% to 10% of cases. Although this is not a high percentage, the consequences for failing a drug test could jeopardize your career, education, or job prospects. Several common prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbs, vitamins, and even some foods could trigger a false positive drug test. 

When it comes to prescriptions, “warnings are available, but usually only if you look for them,” says Brent McFadden, Pharm.D., the owner of Brent’s Pharmacy & Diabetes Care in St. George, Utah. “It is usually in the fine print and most people, in my experience, don’t read the material given to them by the pharmacist.” 

8 medications that cause false positive drug tests

So, if you are most people who don’t take the time to study the fine print, here is a list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that could cause a false positive drug test.

1. Analgesics/ NSAIDS

The medication Daypro (oxaprozin), which is prescribed for types of arthritis, may result in a false positive test for benzodiazepines.

The pain medication tramadol could trigger a false positive result for PCP.

Common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen) could make you test positive for barbiturates, THC (cannabinoids), or PCP.

2. Antibiotics 

Quinolone antibiotics, such as Levaquin (levofloxacin) or Cipro (ciprofloxacin)  are commonly prescribed for certain infections (urinary tract, sinus, etc.). They have been shown to trigger a false positive urine result for opiates. Rifampin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, can also lead to a false positive result for opiates.

3. Antidepressants

Antidepressantssuch as Wellbutrin (bupropion), Prozac (fluoxetine), Seroquel (quetiapine), Effexor (venlafaxine), trazodone, and amitriptyline—could cause a false positive result for amphetamines or LSD. 

4. Antihistamines 

Antihistamines and some sleep aids containing diphenhydramine ( Benadryl) could cause a false positive result for PCP or methadone. Doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom) can also trigger a positive drug result for methadone, opiates, and PCP.

RELATED: Benadryl details | Doxylamine details

5. Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants 

Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall are used to treat ADHD, and are well known to cause a false positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines.

RELATED: Ritalin details | Adderall details

6. Cough suppressant 

Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in Robitussin, Delsym, and other over-the-counter cough suppressants, may cause a drug screen to be positive for opiates and/or PCP.

RELATED: Learn the dangers of a cough syrup addiction

7. Decongestants

A key ingredient in Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is also the main ingredient to the making of methamphetamine. 

RELATED: Sudafed details

8. Proton pump inhibitors

Prilosec (omeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), and Prevacid (lansoprazole) are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and can cause a false positive for THC. 

“My recommendation to anyone taking these medicines who might be drug tested is first and foremost to be honest with the tester,” says Dr. McFadden. “Know if the meds you are taking might cause a false positive and notify the administrator of the test.

If it is prescribed, make sure you have the label from the pharmacy, which will show that the medication was prescribed to you. If it is an OTC product, have some kind of documentation (the container it was in, a note from your physician, etc.

) that you have taken it.”

5 common substances that can cause false positives

In addition to prescription medications, these other common substances can lead to a false positive drug test. 

1. Vitamin B supplements

Riboflavin, also known as B2, is found in hemp seed oil and may return a false THC (marijuana) reading. 

2. CBD (cannabidiol)

CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the marijuana plant that has become a very popular remedy for everything from pain control, to promoting sleep, to helping relieve anxiety.

Urine drug tests screen for the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, but a problem could arise due to the fact that these products are not very well-regulated and cross contamination can occur.

“With CBD available in everything from drink powders, to weight loss formulations, to tinctures of all types, false positive urine tests for THC will become more and more common,” warns Dr. McFadden.

3. Poppy seeds

Consuming poppy seeds before a drug test (such as in a muffin or on a bagel) could cause a false positive drug result for opioids.

Poppy seeds come from the seedpod of the opium poppy and while the seeds are cleaned before consumption, they may still contain trace amounts of opium residue. In 1998, the federal government raised the threshold on opiates from 0.

3 micrograms to 2 micrograms per milliliter, but some testing facilities still go by the old standard. 

4. Mouthwash

Alcohol in hand sanitizer (from heavy use), certain liquid medications, and mouthwash or other breath cleaning products could cause you to test positive for drinking alcohol. 

5. Tonic water

Tonic water contains quinine, and when consumed in large amounts could lead to false positive results for opiates. 

What to do if you have a false positive drug test

If you believe you failed a drug test due to taking a prescription drug or consuming one of these products you do have options. “I would counsel them to require the administrator to do a more specific test before any action was taken,” says Dr.

McFadden, who recommends samples be sent away to labs to have a more specific mass spectroscopy assay done. “Furthermore, if they can prove they are taking a medicine that can produce a false positive (by producing a legitimate prescription), the administrator may schedule another test 30 to 60 days later.

If, under their physicians’ approval, the person can be off the medicine for that length of time, a negative test should result.”


How to avoid a false positive drug test and the factors that can cause it

How Antidepressants Show Up on a Drug Test

A common question that the team at DNA Legal receive is what will cause a false positive drugs test? You may have read in one of our other blog posts the fact that that we’ve mentioned one of the flaws in drug testing is that there is such a thing as a ‘false positive’ if the laboratory does not follow enhanced processing guidelines. A false positive occurs when something causes a test to mistakenly give a result that would indicate drug consumption.

In this article, we will explore eleven of the most common and legitimate reasons that a false positive drugs test could happen. The article also includes the steps that are taken by DNA Legal to avoid false-positive tests and misinterpretations of results.


Food marketers and nutritionists have billed hemp and hemp seeds as superfoods that can boost our immunity, increase energy levels, and offer a novel way of getting essential fatty acids. What they fail to mention is that hemp products can, in some cases, contain low amounts of THC to cause a false positive drug test.

Drug testing equipment is sometimes confused by those with a regular hemp consumption and so it struggles to make the differentiation between a cannabis smoker and a hemp consumer.

The DNA legal team takes extra steps to determine the difference between the legal and illegal use, these will be outlined in your report if relevant.

Read our blog post on CBD & Drug testing for more information around this topic.


Tonic water contains a chemical called quinine which is used to fight malaria and babesiosis (a disease caused by tick bites) and was popular in the past for keeping mosquitoes and ticks away in tropical countries. 

Nowadays, however, it’s popular as a material for cutting heroin, and so there are some drug tests that can flag up high levels of quinine as an indicator of heroin, opiate, or cocaine use. After screening, the confirmation test specifies the correct substance. It’s important to always check for all metabolites.


You might not think it, but over-the-counter cold and flu medication can actually result in a false positive drug test. This is because the remedies sometimes use a chemical called pseudoephedrine, a synthetic amphetamine used also to produce meth. This normally only affects the instant rapid tests but If you’ve got a drug test coming up, stay clear of cold and flu remedies.


Sticking on the theme of over-the-counter medicines, even ibuprofen can get you in trouble on some drug tests. Strangely, this anti-inflammatory drug has been found on rare occasions to give a false-positive result for cannabis or PCP. 

Substitute your ibuprofen for aspirin if you’re concerned about triggering a false positive drug test. Also, be wary of naproxen and fenoprofen as the same thing can happen. The laboratory should be able to tell the difference, but always a good idea to check.

Poppy seeds

Poppy seeds may well be the most famous example of a reason for a false positive drug test, as it almost defies belief that eating a poppy seed bagel or toast could actually accidentally indicate morphine or opium usage. This is because these seeds come from the same plant that heroin is made from. 

There are common examples of positive instant tests but when the sample goes to the lab then this can be ruled out. If you’ve had poppy seeds back to lab testing is the best route for you.

Coca Tea

This hot drink is far more popular in South America and Asia, mainly because all coca products are illegal in the US and EU. That doesn’t stop everyone, of course.

The problem with coca leaves is that they come from, you guessed it, the same planet that is used to produce cocaine.

Even though coca tea has limited intoxicating effects, it can trigger a false-positive result on an instant test.

Second-hand cannabis smoke

This is one of the reasons that is most googled and causes the most debate. So, to give our say on the matter, yes, second-hand cannabis smoke can trigger a false positive drugs test, however, the chances are low.

Low, of course, is not zero, so it does happen from time to time and the only way to avoid it is to avoid being around cannabis smokers.

The dubious nature of this reason is that people who rightly test positive for cannabis consumption have been known to blame second-hand smoke in an attempt to get trouble. 

The second factor is that there is a certain threshold for a substance to be over in order to fail the drug test, which is why it’s uncommon for second-hand cannabis smoke to create false positive situations. The THC traces that you can get from second-hand smoke are rarely enough for you to fail the drug test.

Additionally. DNA Legal has a unique method that they carry out on all cannabis hair drug tests to exclude the chances of any positive results due to contamination.


We’ve already weighed in on cold medicines and anti-inflammatory pills, so now it’s time to address antidepressants, another method of triggering a false positive drug test result. Wellbutrin, one of the most well-known antidepressants, can show up on tests for amphetamines. 

Equally, Zoloft has been known to cause false-positive results for benzodiazepine (a strong opioid), as the tests can’t tell the difference between that and sertraline.

Doctors are often happy to switch your antidepressant medication in advance if you have an upcoming drug test.

However, providing a copy of your prescription to the person conducting the drugs test is an important first step as long term prescription use stays in parts of the body for many months.

Diet pills

Back in the 1980s, a lot of young people used party drugs amphetamines as weight management tools, often to curb their appetite. Fast-forward to the present day and some diet pills use a chemical called phentermine, essentially a synthetic type of amphetamine.

Famously in 2016, Mamadou Sakho, a defender for Liverpool FC at the time, tested positive for a fat-burning substance which caused a lot of complications for his career. In 2011, Kolo Toure, a player for Manchester City, tested positive for a similar fat-burning substance and was banned for 6 months.


Typically antibiotics won’t cause any issues in regards to drug tests, but in the very smallest number of cases, some antibiotics can accidentally cause a false-positive result.

One of the antibiotics in question is called Rifampin, and it’s used in specialist antibiotic medicines for treating tuberculosis.

Rifampin has shown up as an opiate in a small number of cases, however, it’s only if you’ve ingested it very recently before a drug test, no more than a day.

Antipsychotic drugs

Quetiapine is a drug for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but it is also a drug that can provide a false positive drug test result, showing up as methadone. Chlorpromazine, which is used to treat manic depression and schizophrenia can wrongly show up as amphetamine. Risperidone and Haloperidol have also been found to show up as false LSD results.


If you believe that your test results showed a false positive and it could be because of one of the reasons listed above, please contact the company conducting the drugs test. Please be aware that some of the examples listed above are all plausible but are uncommon.

When tests deliver a false positive result, it’s a point of care to send them for further lab testing to get a more granular level of detail about detected compounds.

At the lab, DNA Legal conducts a second confirmation test for all presumptive tests, to specify the correct use substance and differentiate between the legal and illegal use.


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