Urine Drug Test vs. Saliva Drug Test

Urine Drug Test vs. Saliva Drug Test

Over the past 15 years, drug testing has become a more common and widespread practice in a number of different settings, including clinical, the workplace, and correctional settings. (Moeller 2008) There are a number of different specimens that can be used to conduct a drug test, including sweat, blood, hair, saliva, and urine. One might argue that saliva and urine would be the most universally convenient specimen types to use for a drug test. Research shows that the most common specimen used for drug testing is urine. (Crome 2006)

Because urine drug tests are so simple,  easily administered and can produce rapid results, there is a growing demand for rapid, point of care (POC) drug tests that use urine as a sample specimen. ALFA Instant-viewTM Drug Tests can detect the use of up to 14 drugs in one urine test. The products come with everything needed to conduct the test and in multiple formats including dip sticks, dip cards, single cassettes, multi-drug panels, and cups. Results are available within minutes and most products are  cleared for professional and CLIA-waived use. Several of ALFA’s drug tests are OTC cleared as well as CE marked.

ALFA Instant-viewTM Drug Tests are also available in a format that uses saliva as the specimen for testing. These saliva drug test products can detect  the use of up to 9 drugs. The product is CE marked and is appropriate for both forensic and research settings. The product consists of a simple saliva card and produces results in 5 to 7 minutes with an accuracy of up to 99%.

In addition to clinical settings, drug testing is very useful in a workplace setting to screen candidates for any potential substance abuse issues or illicit drug use behavior. In fact, guidelines from The Department of Health and Human Services require testing for the following 5 substances: amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine. (Moeller 2008)

Saliva as a diagnostic agent for drug testing is a growing trend over the past 20 or so years. Research on salivary diagnostics has been initiated by the Office of the Surgeon General and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for the past two decades to determine the effectiveness of saliva drug tests. (Streckfus 2002)

You might wonder: is a urine or saliva drug test more accurate? The answer is that the two are comparable in terms of accuracy. Urine drugs tests can produce results that are greater than 99 percent accurate while saliva drug tests can yield an accuracy of 99 percent. Urine drug tests can detect a wider range of substances versus saliva, however. Depending on your specific drug testing requirements and setting, one might prove a better solution than the other. If convenience is the most important factor, saliva drug tests might be your best option, as they are simple devices that require a minimal sample. If speed and range are more important and you have a facility to accommodate it, a urine drug test might be the better solution.

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Moeller, Karen E., Kelly C. Lee, and Julie C. Kissack. “Urine drug screening: practical guide for clinicians.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Vol. 83. No. 1. Elsevier, 2008.

Streckfus, C. F., and L. R. Bigler. “Saliva as a diagnostic fluid.” Oral diseases 8.2 (2002): 69-76.