Cotinine (COT) Drug Test
Cotinine is the first-stage metabolite of nicotine, a toxic alkaloid that produces stimulation of the autonomic ganglia and central nervous systems when in humans. Nicotine is a drug to which virtually every member of a tobacco-smoking society is exposed whether through direct contact or second-hand inhalation. In addition to tobacco, nicotine is also commercially available as the active ingredient in smoking replacement therapies such as nicotine gum, transdermal patches, and nasal sprays. In a 24-hour urine, approximately 5% of a nicotine dose is excreted as unchanged drug with 10% as cotinine and 35% as hydroxycotinine; the concentrations of other metabolites are believed to account for less than 5%. While cotinine is thought to be an inactive metabolite, it's elimination profile is more stable than that of nicotine which is largely urine pH dependent. As a result, cotinine is considered a good biological marker for determining nicotine use.