- Toxicology and Drug Testing in the Medical Laboratory
This guideline provides laboratories with basic and general toxicology testing information for medical purposes. The guideline discusses the most common specimen types used for toxicology testing, which include urine, serum, plasma, blood, oral fluid, hair, meconium, sweat, and breath. Other matrixes that can be used for toxicology testing include, but are not limited to, gastric contents, umbilical cord and cord blood, amniotic fluid, breast milk, nails, dried blood spots, and placental tissue. However, these other matrixes are not discussed in this guideline.
The measurands considered in this guideline include drugs of abuse, therapeutic drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, ethanol, and miscellaneous substances. Test methodologies include rapid screening measurement procedures designed to produce only positive or negative results (qualitative tests), routine semiquantitative and quantitative tests, and more complex definitive measurement procedures.
C52 also provides useful guidance when performing drug testing for measurands other than those specifically included and for purposes and situations not covered.
This guideline is primarily applicable to drug testing performed in medical laboratories. The information is likely applicable for drug testing performed in physician office laboratories, clinics, satellite laboratories, and other facilities, but may be less applicable in other testing venues, such as large specialized reference laboratories, dedicated forensic laboratories, and the various sites in which point-of-care â€œfield testingâ€ may occur.