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Can Concerta Cause a False Positive for Amphetamines?

Concerta, also known as methylphenidate, is a prescription stimulant that belongs to the same class of drugs such as Ritalin. It generally has the same chemical makeup as Ritalin, but Concerta is the extended-release version that lasts up to 12 hours. Concerta is typically prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and gives those with this disorder the ability to pay attention while diminishing hyperactivity and impulsiveness. When it is used correctly, it can give people great amounts of relief to the symptoms of ADHD, but for those who take it and don’t need it, it can lead to dependence and addiction. When it comes to drug tests while in rehab, a drug test can be a fairly accurate indication that substance use is happening as well as being a useful tool to help prevent any substance abuse going forward in the future. It also provides you with a sense of accountability while in rehab, helps to prevent relapse, and allows you to stick to goals of wellness.

What Does a False Positive for Amphetamines Mean?

The term false positive is about results on a drug test, such as a test for the presence of amphetamines, that come back to say the test has detected the presence of a substance that the person has not taken. While false positives in drug tests are not common, they are very possible. Certain medications do have the ability to interfere with the accuracy of a drug test. It is shown that nearly 10 percent of drug tests show false positives.

What False Positives Does the ADHD Drug Concerta Cause?

There have been reports from people who take drug screens while on Concerta, and this drug does not show, but the tests come back positive for the presence of amphetamines. It can also trigger a false positive for methamphetamines and even LSD in some cases. False-positive drug tests are most common with urine drug tests and saliva drug tests. The active ingredient in Concerta, known as methylphenidate, is not an amphetamine, but it is a psychostimulant and its effects resemble those of classic amphetamine-family drugs.

Drug Testing During Recovery Is Not Perfect

While drug tests are a helpful tool for those in rehabilitation, they do have their limitations, including false positives. False positives for amphetamines are related to the structure of Concerta. Urine drug tests, executed by immunoassay (IA), are used typically because of the ease and rapid results. The downside is that immunoassay drug tests have a limited amount of specificity and sensitivity. Similarly, structured compounds often produce false positives because of this. NIH published a study on false positive drug screens that show out of 3,571 specimens that were collected and screened, 100 of those specimens came back with a false positive for amphetamines and/or MDMA.

What to Do if You Get a False Positive For Amphetamines While On Concerta?

If you happen to be one of the unlucky few to receive a false positive during a drug test, the next common step is to request a more detailed test. While it may be more pricey and take a bit longer to produce results, it is much more accurate. It is important to disclose to the person administering the drug test that you are taking Concerta, so if a false positive does occur, this can be taken into consideration and additional testing can be done for you. Drug screens while in drug rehab and throughout the recovery process are used for many different reasons. They are typically administered upon admission so that they can determine the type and level of substances you have been taking to better give you a more individualized level of care. Drug testing while in rehab is not used as a treatment method, but it is a tool that is used during rehab that is meant to facilitate and encourage a lifestyle of abstinence from drugs.