It’s gotten colder (if you haven’t noticed) and along with winter comes over the counter medicines to relieve those colds and flus. But question is, can these over-the-counter medicines affect your employee’s drug test?
Over-the-counter medicines have drugs including codeine, hydrocodone, and sympathomimetics which can in fact produce positive drug test results.
Codeine is used as a cough suppressant. It enters the body and is metabolized and then converts into morphine. Both codeine and morphine are used to relieve pain. Using products that contain codeine may result in a positive drug test for either codeine or morphine.
Hydrocodone is a highly addictive, FDA approved pain killer as well as used in medications as a cough suppressant. Hydrocodone will produce a postive drug test result.
Sympathomimetics include drugs such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylephrine. They are commonly used as decongestants in OTC cold and flu medicines. These drugs do not produce a positive drug test result.
Other medications like Ephedrine and natural Ephedra, herbal supplements also used for colds, can produce postive drug test results for Speed and Ecstasy.
It is recommended that employees keep a record of dates and medications consumed if positive drug test results do arise. However, be aware that over-the-counter medicine abuse is just as common and dangerous as drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace.
XDDS specializes in assisting employers in implementing a drug free program which can include banning the use of all medications at work, suggesting alternative methods for colds and flus, and providing awareness to employees.