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Precursor Medications as a Source of Methamphetamine and/or Amphetamine Positive Drug Testing Results

Cody, John T. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2002 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 - p 435-450

Medical Review Officer interpretation of laboratory results is an important component of drug testing programs. The clinical evaluation of laboratory results to assess the possibility of appropriate medical use of a drug is a task with many different facets, depending on the drug class considered. This intercession prevents the reporting of positive results unless it is apparent that drugs were used illicitly. In addition to the commonly encountered prescribed drugs that yield positive drug testing results, other sources of positive results must be considered. This review describes a series of compounds referred to as “precursor” drugs that are metabolized by the body to amphetamine and/or methamphetamine. These compounds lead to positive results for amphetamines even though neither amphetamine nor methamphetamine were used, a possibility that must be considered in the review of laboratory results. Description of the drugs, their clinical indications, and results seen following administration are provided. This information allows for the informed evaluation of results with regard to the potential involvement of these drugs.

From the Academy of Health Sciences, MCCS-HMP PA Branch, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Address correspondence to: John T. Cody, PhD, Academy of Health Sciences, MCCS-HMP PA Branch, 3151 Scott Road, Ft Sam Houston, TX 78234-6138;

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Defense or other Departments of the US Government.

Copyright © by American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

©2002The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine