Posted in Suboxone

False-Positives In Drug Screen Urinalysis

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I had to change my Suboxone doctor when my original doctor was arrested.  I’ve been with my new doctor for a little over a year.  My first appointment brought me face to face with an issue I’d never dealt with before…  a false-positive urine drug screen.  The initial results came up showing positive for Methadone.  This truly caught me off guard as I have never taken Methadone, legally or illegally.  This tossed a wrench in my first appointment, obviously, but was soon clarified when my sample was sent to the lab and was verified with no Methadone.

Fast forward to my regular appointment this week.  I go in, I’m given my standard cup for urinalysis, do my thing and figure it’s all good.  No.  The receptionist asks me to re-do the test.  This is already an issue for me, so in the mean time as I’m chugging water and Mt. Dew, I see my doctor.  She tells me my drug screen again showing positive for Methadone.  Okay… this has gone from slightly annoying to worrisome.  Again, I’ve never touched Methadone.  I’ve spent my time on Suboxone striving to do what’s right.  I haven’t gone through the hell of getting clean just to screw myself.  Doctor reassures me that these are just the cheap, $5 tests and can be wrong, that’s why she’s having me re-submit.  That’s all well and good until the second urinalysis comes back positive for Methadone as well.

I hate that this happening plants that seed of doubt in my doctor’s mind.  Yet I’m not overly concerned with that, because she is sending it off to be evaluated by the lab.  I have no concern with this portion, because I know I haven’t taken anything I should not have.  Even so, it bugs me that this keeps happening.  I can’t make an intelligent argument that it’s even the “fault” of the cup test because I’m the only one this is happening to.

I go through the whole list all over again of everything I take, whether it’s daily or as needed, prescription or over-the-counter.  Nothing is coming up as a possible culprit.  Until I happened upon an article written by a USC doctor on the website.  There I find an article listing 15 medications that can cause true false-positives.  About 4 or 5 down the list is diphenhydramine, aka Benadryl, which can produce false-positives for Methadone.  I take Benadryl.  I take it regularly in the winter and spring months when my sinus issues go into full throttle.

Again, not real concerned with the temporary issues with my doctor because I know it’ll be verified with the lab analysis.  What did occur to me is that I’ve had several job interviews which I thought had gone well.  I’ve gone as far as multiple interviews and even drug screens.  If diphenhydramine can cause a false-positive for Methadone with my doctor’s drug screen, why should I expect anything different from a possible employer.  I have emailed my doctor to see if there would be a difference between the test she uses versus what she would expect an employer to use just to make sure.  Yet the thought that something I have been doing may have effected my chance to get a good job is really hard to suck up.

I was up until almost 4am looking at research for this.  I even found articles from the National Institute of Health stating that yes, diphenhydramine can cause false-positives for methadone. I’ll link information below about what I have found in case anyone else has dealt with similar issues.

Before taking anything, regardless of prescription, over the counter, medication, supplement, do research on the possible issues you could face down the road!

Liz S.

  • Article: These 15 Medications Can Cause a False Positive on Drug Tests
  • Author(s): Dr. Sharon Orrange, MD MPH
  • Date: November 15, 2016
  • Site:
  • Link:
  • Article: Rapid urine drug screens: diphenhydramine and methadone cross-reactivity
  • Author(s): Rogers SC1, Pruitt CW, Crouch DJ, Caravati EM
  • Date: September 26, 2010
  • Site: PubMed.Gov / US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health
  • Link:
  • Article: Commonly Prescribed Medications and Potential False-positive Urine Drug Screens
  • Author(s): Nancy C. Brahm; Lynn L. Yeager; Mark D. Fox; Kevin C. Farmer; Tony A. Palmer
  • Date: 2010
  • Site:
  • Link:





I am a 40 year old, divorced mother of two teenage daughters (thanks for the sympathy!!), plus two dogs who believe they're kids, too. The five of us live south of Atlanta, Ga. If you would like to know anything else, feel free to ask!

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