Urine and Oral Fluid Testing Comparison
Comparisons at a glance & Rapid Screening Devices

Urine and Oral Fluid Testing Comparison

Comparisons at a glance

Urine

Oral Fluid

Setting

Used as workplace standard and for federally regulated testing e.g., Dept. of Transportation (DOT). Also used for long-term patient management and agencies that test a wide range of drugs.

Ideal for detecting recent drug abuse. Popular with programs that require convenient, gender-neutral specimen collection. Not used for regulated workplace testing (DOT).

Detection Window

Ideal for detecting historical drug use (1-20 days). Estimates depend on the substance, amount, and frequency of use.

Ideal for detecting recent drug use (4-24 hours). Estimates depend on the substance, amount, and the frequency of use.

Collection Process

May require gender-specific staff to observe collection (depends on agency policy). Potentially cumbersome for female donors. Issues with "shy bladder."

Conveniently collected on-location. Specimen directly and easily observed. No gender-specific staff needed.

Specimen Tampering

Possibility for adulteration if collection not observed.

Minimal chance of specimen adulteration.

Multiple Specimens

If problems occur during collection, and another specimen is required, donor may not be able to provide urine immediately.

Additional oral fluid specimens can be provided immediately, or within minutes when mouth is dry.

Price

Less expensive when comparing actual urine to oral fluid tests. Wider range of urine test panels and drug configurations available.

Cost-effective when considering collection overhead factors: reduced collection time, no need for gender specific staff, or separated restroom/collection facility.

Rapid Screening Devices

Urine Screening Devices

Oral Fluid Screening Devices

Test Method

Lateral Flow chromatographic immunoassay screen targets multiple drugs and drug metabolites in urine.

Lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay screen targets multiple drugs and drug metabolites in oral fluid.

Accuracy

Qualitative screen provides a preliminary result.

Qualitative screen provides a preliminary result.

Device Types

Collection/test cups, dip cards, cassettes.

Collection mouth swab plus test device.

Result Time

Typically 5 minutes. (Varies by manufacturer)

Typically 10 minutes. (Varies by manufacturer)

Storage

Room temperature with approximate 24 month shelf life. (Varies by manufacturer)

Room temperature with approximate 18 month shelf life. (Varies by manufacturer)

Advantages

Simple to follow procedures. Rapid test results on-location.

Simple to follow procedures. Convenient collections and rapid test results on-location.

Disadvantages

Adulteration concerns. "Shy bladder" concerns (difficulty urinating). May require separate, gender specific collection facility. Cross-reaction interferences can arise, thus false-positive results are possible.

Most U.S. states require use of a FDA cleared device for initial testing in a workplace setting. At present, only one device is cleared: Oratect®. Cross-reaction interferences can arise.