1212 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029


Call Today (323)443-3225

  • Menu Close
  • marker Contact
  • i Insurance
  • message Question
  • phone Call 24/7

What Medications Can Cause a False Positive for Methamphetamines?

Drug testing is a common practice in various contexts, including employment, criminal justice, and addiction recovery programs. One of the challenges with drug testing is the potential for false positive results, which can have significant consequences for individuals being tested. False positives can occur for various reasons, including consuming certain medications. In this article, we will explore the medications that can cause a false positive for methamphetamines (meth), why this happens, and how individuals can navigate this issue, particularly in the context of addiction recovery.

LifeScape Recovery Mental Health Services methamphetamines (meth)

Understanding False Positives

Before delving into specific medications, it’s essential to understand what a false positive is. A false positive occurs when a drug test incorrectly indicates the presence of a substance that is not actually in a person’s system. In the case of methamphetamines, certain medications and substances can trigger a false positive result, leading to confusion, potential job loss, legal ramifications, or complications in addiction recovery programs.

Medications and Substances That Can Cause False Positives

Several medications and substances are known to potentially cause false positive results for methamphetamines in drug tests. It’s crucial to be aware of these substances, as they can have implications for individuals in various situations. Here are some common culprits:

1. Over-the-Counter Decongestants

Over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants often contain pseudoephedrine or ephedrine as active ingredients. These compounds are structurally similar to methamphetamines and can trigger a false positive on drug tests. Some well-known decongestant brands that may lead to false positives include Sudafed and Claritin-D.

2. Prescription Medications

Certain prescription medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin, can also lead to false positives for methamphetamines. These medications are commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and contain amphetamine salts, which can cross-react with methamphetamine tests.

3. Antidepressants

Some antidepressant medications, like bupropion (brand name Wellbutrin), can result in false positive drug test results for methamphetamines. Bupropion is sometimes prescribed to manage depression and smoking cessation, but its chemical structure can mimic methamphetamines in drug tests.

4. Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays containing levmetamfetamine (also known as l-desoxyephedrine) can potentially lead to false positive results for methamphetamines. These sprays are used to relieve nasal congestion but contain compounds that resemble methamphetamines chemically.

LifeScape Recovery Mental Health Services  Nasal Sprays

5. Cold and Flu Medications

Some cold and flu medications, particularly those with ingredients like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, can trigger false positive results on methamphetamine tests. It’s essential to check the labels of these medications and be cautious when taking them before a drug test.

Why Do These Medications Cause False Positives?

The reason certain medications and substances can cause false positives for methamphetamines lies in their chemical structures. Methamphetamines and related compounds share structural similarities with the substances mentioned above. Drug tests, such as urine or saliva tests, often rely on immunoassays to detect the presence of specific substances. These tests can sometimes cross-react with structurally similar compounds, leading to false positive results.

Navigating False Positives in Addiction Recovery

For individuals in addiction recovery programs, false positive drug test results can be particularly concerning. It’s crucial to address this issue proactively to prevent misunderstandings and potential setbacks. Here are some steps to consider:

1. Open Communication

Maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider or counselor is essential. When you are prescribed medications that could trigger false positives, inform your treatment team. They can document your medication use and take it into account when interpreting your drug test results.

2. Provide Documentation

If you are taking medications that may lead to false positives, ask your healthcare provider for documentation explaining your prescription and the potential for false positives. Having this information on hand can be helpful if questions arise regarding your test results.

3. Confirmatory Testing

In cases where a drug test yields a positive result, especially if you believe it’s due to medication, request a confirmatory test, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). These tests are more accurate and can differentiate between substances, reducing the likelihood of false positives.

4. Know Your Rights

If you are in an addiction recovery program, familiarize yourself with the program’s policies regarding false positives. Understanding your rights and the steps for addressing false positives can help you navigate potential challenges.

5. Seek Legal Advice (if applicable)

In some cases, false positive drug test results can have legal consequences. If you believe your rights have been violated due to a false positive, consider seeking legal advice to protect your interests.

Protected by Copyscape
lifescape recovery outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles, ca

False positive results for methamphetamines in drug tests can be attributed to certain medications and substances with chemical similarities. Understanding which medications can cause false positives and taking proactive steps to address this issue, especially in the context of addiction recovery, is essential. Open communication with healthcare providers, providing documentation, and confirming test results through more accurate methods can help individuals navigate the complexities of false positives and ensure that their treatment and recovery processes are not derailed by misunderstandings.

Published: November 01, 2023

Last Updated: November 07, 2023


Natalia Golenkova


Published: April 08, 2024

Exploring the Impact of the Solar Eclipse on Mental Health

The solar eclipse, a celestial phenomenon that captivates humanity, transcends its mere astronomical significance to offer profound insights into our mental well-being. Beyond its visual splendor, this cosmic event invites introspection, reflection, and a deeper understanding of our inner selves, fostering a connection between the celestial and the psychological realms. Connecting with Nature’s Synchronicity The […]

Read more

Published: April 06, 2024

Understanding Autism Awareness Month: Fostering Inclusivity & Support

April stands as Autism Awareness Month, a dedicated period aimed at enhancing comprehension and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) while advocating for individuals living with autism. This observance serves as a pivotal opportunity to shed light on the intersectionality between autism and mental health, emphasizing the need for a supportive and inclusive environment conducive […]

Read more

Published: March 22, 2024

Why Do We Fear Therapy?

In a world where mental well-being is increasingly valued, the fear of therapy often acts as a barrier for individuals seeking help. At Lifescape Recovery, we recognize the importance of understanding and addressing this fear to pave the way for profound transformations. Join us as we delve into the reasons behind the apprehension surrounding therapy […]

Read more

    Verify Your Insurance

    We accept nearly 100% of all private and commercial insurances. Verify your insurance now!