How antidepressants appear in drug tests

If you are taking a prescription antidepressant such as Prozac (fluoxetine), you may be concerned that it will show up in a drug test. This is especially worrying if you have to undergo pre-employment drug screening for your new job.

Since antidepressants are not considered “drugs of abuse,” they are not included in common urine drug screenings. However, for the substances that these tests are designed to detect, there may be cross-reactions that can produce false positive results.

Know what steps you can take to ensure that your drug test results are accurately interpreted and protect your rights.

Common drug screening

Antidepressants do not show up as Antidepressants In standard drug testing. The laboratory will have to perform specific additional tests to find antidepressants.

If you are being treated for depression, the good news is that antidepressants are not the drugs employers are looking for in employment drug screening. The types of substances tested in a typical employment drug screening include:

However, sometimes antidepressants can cause false positives in drug tests, which show up as amphetamine or lysergic diethylamine (LSD) in the test.

The impact of antidepressants on drug testing

If the prescription drug or its metabolite has a similar chemical structure to the tested target drug, false positive test results sometimes occur.

Some antidepressants may inadvertently trigger false positives for controlled substances. To avoid this, please inform the tester of any medications you may be taking so that a confirmation test can be performed to eliminate any false positives.

Certain antidepressants are more prone to false positive readings. For example, Wellbutrin (bupropion), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Desyrel (trazodone) may all show up as amphetamines in drug screening.

Similarly, Zoloft (sertraline) may manifest itself as a benzodiazepine drug. Less commonly, antidepressants are known to cause false positives in LSD.

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Prevent false alarms

If you are concerned that your antidepressant may show a false positive for another drug in a drug test, then your best course of action is to be proactive.

Notify the technician

In addition to telling the technician about the antidepressant you are taking, please bring a prescription bottle and make sure that the drug is noted in your record. It is better to declare this before the test rather than after it.

If necessary, request a second test

Due to the risk of false positives, all drug screening results should be treated as presumptive results until confirmed by a second testing technique (such as liquid or gas mass spectrometry).

If your drug screening test is positive, but the second confirmation test has not yet been taken, ask for it immediately, preferably with the same sample. In addition, obtain copies of the two results to confirm that different techniques were used.

Discuss other medications with your doctor

If possible, you may want to discuss with your doctor to try different types of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that do not produce false positives. For example, Prozac (fluoxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline) may produce false positive results, while Paxil (paroxetine), Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) will not .

If you use antidepressants to treat neuropathic pain, you may need to avoid taking Effexor XR (venlafaxine) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), which may be more prone to false positives. Instead, you can ask your doctor about Cymbalta (duloxetine), which has a very low risk of false positives in drug tests.

If you use antidepressants as sleep aids, avoid Desyrel (trazodone) as much as possible. Remeron (mirtazapine) or sedative hypnotics are alternatives that are less likely to produce false positives in drug tests.

Of course, if a particular medication is effective for your depression—and you and your doctor agree that it’s best not to change the course—be sure to show any and all medications to the laboratory technician who is doing the drug screening.

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Protect your privacy

Even if you can exclude any false positives from drug screening, you may be concerned about the disclosure of antidepressant use.

In most cases, any information you share with testers will not be included in the results. The laboratory staff may not be in direct contact with your current or future supervisor. All your employer will receive is a list of positive and negative results from the required drug screening.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits harassment and discrimination in the workplace for depression and other mental health conditions,However, you may have reasonable concerns about the protection of your rights.

If you are concerned about confidentiality, ask the tester for a copy of the company’s protected health information (PHI) document, which outlines their legal obligations and privacy practices under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Although people’s awareness of mental health conditions such as depression has improved over the years, it is still common for people with depression to worry about the stigma associated with the diagnosis of depression.

It is understandable that you want to keep your depression diagnosis confidential, especially for current or potential employers. You may worry that you will be discriminated against or singled out because of the conditions in your workplace, even if there is legal protection.

Prepare for a test

The first and most important thing is not to stop taking the medicine or reduce the dose unless you do so under the guidance of a doctor. This is true even if you are worried about false positives.

Even short-term interruption of medication can have serious consequences for your treatment, especially antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS). Discuss any concerns you have with your mental health provider so that you can be screened for medication safely and stress-free.

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It is also important to remember that antidepressants are not the only drugs that can trigger false-positive drug screening. Others include:

  • Advil (ibuprofen)
  • Aleve (naproxen)
  • Diphenhydramine (Diphenhydramine)
  • Cardizem (Diltiazem)
  • Dextromethorphan (found in Robitussin)
  • Bacteriophage (Metformin)
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)
  • Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
  • Dandanate (Labetrol)
  • Altem (tramadol)

Very good sentence

Faced with drug screening can make anyone feel anxious, especially when the job requires it. If you feel this way, you are not alone.

However, try not to overemphasize drug screening. Keep in mind that false positives do happen, and most drug screening companies understand this. Just disclose your prescription, you can avoid false positives and protect your rights.

Frequently asked questions

  • Will Prozac appear in drug tests?

    Prozac (fluoxetine) may show up as amphetamine or lysergic diethylamine (LSD) in a drug test and produce a false positive for one of these illegal drugs. However, Prozac will not show up as Prozac or an antidepressant in drug tests because these tests usually do not screen the use of antidepressants.

  • Does Lexapro appear in the drug test?

    Lexapro (escitalopram) does not appear in drug tests because drug tests usually do not screen the use of antidepressants. Moreover, unlike other SSRIs, Lexapro does not produce false positives for any other types of drugs.

  • Will Zoloft appear in drug testing?

    Zoloft (sertraline) may show a false positive in a benzodiazepine or LSD drug test. However, Zoloft will not show up in tests as Zoloft – or as an antidepressant – because people usually don’t screen for antidepressant use in standard drug tests.


How antidepressants appear in drug tests
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