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Analytical Techniques for Drug Detection in Oral Fluid

Lillsunde, Pirjo PhD

doi: 10.1097/FTD.0b013e3181685088
Proceedings Paper

Abstract: Analytical techniques for detection of drugs in oral fluid (OF) are reviewed with emphasis on applications used in European Union (EU) roadside testing projects. Oral fluid is readily accessible and collectible. It has become an interesting material because no medical personnel are needed for sampling. This matrix is especially applicable for preliminary drug testing in driving under the influence controls and for monitoring illicit drug use in drug treatment. Oral fluid is also an increasingly used specimen in epidemiologic studies and in workplace drug testing. Drugs are present at lower levels in OF than in urine. The window of detection of drugs in OF reflects the corresponding window in blood, suggesting OF as a specimen of choice for roadside testing. Saliva/blood ratios vary from drug to drug, from person to person, and even intraindividually making therapeutic drug monitoring in OF challenging. Several sensitive methods for drug testing in OF have been developed during the last years.

From the National Public Health Institute, Drug Research Unit, Helsinki, Finland.

Received for publication September 13, 2007; accepted December 6, 2007.

Address for correspondence: Pirjo Lillsunde, National Public Health Institute, Drug Research Unit, Mannerheimintie 166, 00300 Helsinki, Finland (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.