A toxicology test checks blood, urine, or saliva for the presence of drugs or chemicals. In rare cases, stomach contents or sweat may also be checked.
Drugs can be accidentally or deliberately swallowed, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through a skin surface or Reference mucous membrane Opens New Window. These include prescription medicines, nonprescription medicine (such as aspirin or acetaminophen), vitamins, nutritional supplements, alcohol, and illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.
A toxicology test may check for one specific drug or for up to 30 different drugs at once. Testing is often done on a urine or saliva sample instead of blood, because urine and saliva tests are usually easier to do than blood tests and many drugs show up in either urine or saliva. Traces of a drug may remain in urine longer than in blood. Urine tests often can detect drug use within the last 5 days. Saliva testing can detect drugs used within the past day.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 8, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology