False Positive Benzodiazepines

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sabrina Says:

I have been taking suboxone for almost a year and had to move to a new doc. They drug tested me and said I tested positive for benzos. The funny thing is I have not taken ANY benzos. I have to go take another test today at 5 and I am scared s**tless cuz they said if benzos are still in my system then they can not see me. Knowing that I haven't taken any benzos makes me wonder if I might still test positive for it again. I did take some cough syrup and some percs but that is it. What could cause this?

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Verwon Says:

Well, it could be something in the cough syrup, some of them, such as NyQuil and a few others contain ingredients that will cause a false positive for other substances.

Do you remember what kind of cough syrup you took or what was in it? I will gladly look it up for you to check.


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Nancypants Says:

I am on a methadone maintenance program and have been for over 3 years. I have been clean for over 2 of those years and because I am clean I am allowed to take 6 days of my 7 days of methadone home. I have one witnessed drink & urine at clinic once a week. My problem was opiates NEVER benzos. Well this is the 2nd time in 2 yrs they are saying I have showed up positive for benzos & my doctor wants to take away my carries for punishment. I am beyond upset & frustrated. I dont take benzos, I offered to go to the hosp for a blood test or have them do something more detailed They said that there is no test that can show a breakdown If you test positive for opiates for example it wont show Tylenol #3 or oxys Just positive for opiates and same with Benzos. I am racking my brain. I take advil sometimes (400-600 mg) I take Elavil (10-20mg) occasionally I take Ponstan (Mefenamic acid) 250mg when I suffer from menstral cramps And just had a UTI and took Macrobid (Nitrofurantion) for a week 100mg twice daily I also take Max alt wafer (10mg) for migraines when needed To my knowledge NONE of these meds will show as benzos. The prev time I showed up we thought it was from an anti-nauseate Gravol and I havent taken it since But this test showed HIGH numbers of Benzos. It is not possible I ingested any by mistake or anything But is there anything like a benzo in any food, drink? ALCOHOL? I am at a complete loss & cannot even think straight.. ANY & all help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. PS I am in Canada not sure if that makes any difference.

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Verwon Says:

Nancypants, that is incorrect, there are tests that can show the specific medications you took, they are more in-depth and much more expensive, but there are ones that can distinguish more specifically by detecting the specific metabolites. Some medications do share the same or similar metabolites, so they can't always precisely tell everything someone has taken, but in many cases, they can tell whether someone has taken Oxycodone or Methadone, for instance. There are even broader panel urine tests that can do this.

I ran through your list of medications and checked them against the substances known to cause false positives for various substances and I am not finding anything.

However, there is a slight, very slight possibility that it could be the Elavil if you had taken it close to the time you had the test, because even though it isn't listed as doing it, I did notice that other medications in the same class have been shown to cause a false positive for Benzodiazepines on urine tests.

I am not a professional chemist, so this wouldn't stand up in court, but to me, it only makes sense that if other medications in the same class can cause it, there would be a possibility that this one would do the same.


Are there any other questions?

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Nancypants Says:

Thanks very much for your reply. Im just really really frustrated. I know ppl just think Im lying (although I have over 2 yrs clean, & my drug of choice was opiates) Its an awful feeling to really not know what caused this.. I take the same things so I would think that the Elavil would have shown up before. They have not taken my carry status away as they are "giving me the benefit of the doubt" But I just wish I knew what was causing it.. Food showing up as benzos? Alcohol? Liver disease? I would actually pay for the more extensive testing just to know what the heck it is. When I called her to ask her about it today It sounded like she didnt know how we would even go about it. (remember I told you she initially told me that there wasnt even such a test) It just feels like Im fighting a losing battle on my own. I havent even slept since hearing this on Tuesday. I really appreciate the help you have given me here. I will not be taking the Elavil anymore just so be on the safe side.. Im just hoping (against hope) it was possibly human error & this will be a one time thing

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Cecil Says:

I take methadone and Neurontin for back pain. I tested positive for Benzo at my Probation office. I have NOT taken any Benzo's. Can Neurontin show up as a false positive for Benzo's?

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hd458 Says:

Here is a very little known (not-so-) fun fact about suboxone. In drug tests that do not specifically test for it, it can show up as other drugs! A friend of mine tested positive for marijuana while on subox, and yet she hadn't smoked it or been around anyone who smoked it for about 5 years. She read about how subox can create false positives (and yes, she read that it sometimes rendered tests for benzos positive) - so she asked for a "re-test" and the next test came out fine. Have you tried just re-testing? Otherwise, I would suggest that you try to look around for some info on how subox can create false positives online and then show what you find to whoever you have to report to. I wish I knew where my friend found the info - I'll try to see if she remembers, and if so, I'll post the site here.

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Verwon Says:

Okay, I tried to do a little more reading up on this, to see if I could help everyone. From what I have learned from this research, it seems there are two types of test on the market.

The first and most expensive is a certified test, these are much more accurate in the metabolites that they detect and rarely give a false positive from something else you took. The problem is, however, that most places are not required to use them, for instance the Federal Government does, but your regular employer or doctor's office is not required to use these ones and pay the extra money for them.

That leads us to the second kind of test, which is the non-certified one and they are much less reliable and will give a false positive anywhere from 4 to 50% of the time they are used. Since they are cheaper and there is no law requiring them to pay more for the certified tests, most employers and doctors offices will use these ones.

With the details I have provided above, I am guessing I don't need to go into the types of problems this can cause, especially since you are all experiencing them.

Nancypants, I'm sorry but the resources I use for false positive information don't go into any foods or beverages that may cause them, they only detail various medications, so I can't tell you if there are any foods or such that might do it. The information I am finding on anything like that isn't very comprehensive or scientifically proven.

Cecil, no, I don't show either Neurontin or Methadone on the list as possibly causing false positives for Benzodiazepines. Have you taken anything else? Even over the counter products?



hd458, yes, that is correct on the Suboxone, but only to a point. It is a synthetic opiate, so it can show up on tests as a positive for other synthetic opiates or semi-synthetic ones. It doesn't, however, show up as Benzodiazepines.


Is there anything else I can help with?

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confusedperson Says:

I have just had benzo and THC show on a routine drug test. I do no drugs. I have had no prescription or over the counter drugs. I took diclofenac for 3 days over a week ago. How could this be possible?

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Verwon Says:

confusedperson, I am not sure what may have shown up for you as a Benzodiazepine, are you sure you didn't take anything else? Even an over the counter product?

As to the THC, that is easily explained, because many of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, including the Diclofenac that you took can cause false positives for that. It can even happen with over the counter doses of Ibuprofen (Advil).


Are there any other questions?

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confusedperson Says:

I am absolutely 100% sure I have consumed nothing other than diclofenac over 1 week ago. I am seriously drug allergic, and only take paracetamol, diclofenac and sudafed when required.
I have had a few gin and tonics and 1 can of larger in the past week, hence I am wondering how this is possible?
I also saw the 3 dip test results taken, they all showed faint lines and varied considerably. 2 from the intial urine sample and 1 from a further sample where I had to drink several cups of water to be able to pass urine?
This sample is the one now in the chain of custody. I was also thinking that all 3 test strips, due to their variations should have been submitted? I don't think they have been.

The information I am giving you is totally accurate.

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Verwon Says:

I am finding information that some of the NSAIDs can cause false positives for Benzodiazpines, ones that is very well know to do it is Daypro, which contains Oxaprozin.

Therefore, it would make sense if some of the others might cause it, as well, since they are in the same drug class. So both of your positives might stem from using the Diclofenac.


Can I help with anything else?

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confusedperson Says:

ok, thank-you for all your help, deeply appreciated.
I will just have to wait for the lab results.
I must say I am at a complete loss, and concerned that at 48 my integrity, job and life is in the hands of something so fallible and baffling.
Thank-you : (

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Wow Says:

I am a pharmacist and I have been hearing patients report similar circumstances. One pt taking only risperidone and trazodone showing positive for benzos.

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gabrielle Says:

Don't know the answer, but do know that if you eat a lot of poppy seed - muffins, cakes, bread - 6 slices of poppy seed bread can do it - you can test positive for opiates!

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Lee123 Says:

What over the counter medication can make me show up positive for benzodiazapines?

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Verwon Says:

Benadryl, or its active ingredient Diphenhydramine, which is used in many over the counter products, might cause a false positive for Benzodiazepines.


There are several Chinese herbal supplements that have been found to contain them. Such as Cow's Head Pills and Miracle Herb. In these it has been found as an undeclared drug ingredient.

The herb Valerian Root has also been recorded as causing a false positive for them.


Are there any other questions?

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elisandra Says:

am on methadone n test positive for cocaine n am scare they take the baby away from me i need help my drug of choices is opiates

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Verwon Says:

Elisandra, what else have you taken? Please post back and make sure that you even include over the counter products.


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Saf Says:

To Nancypant....Currently in very similar situation..I have been on Suboxone for over 2 years, and not a single relapse. Had an old script of Elavil..used it a few nights to sleep..and came up positve for opiates/benzos. Still fighting to prove my case also. Of course, my urine is long gone, they dont hold it long enough for anyone to contradict the findings. My doctor wasnt even aware of false positives. It is extremely upsetting to go through this, since noone believes you once you have become addicted to a substance, and admitted it. If the doctors who prescribed methadone and suboxone actually cared about their patients, instead of the money they make off of them, they would pause at a situation like ours..2 years clean, no past infringes or relapses, and put a hold on the urines to further test , even at patients expense, to give someone a second chance. There actually are addicts out there who do clean up, and are decent, honest human beings.Good luck to you. Fingers crossed.

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question Says:

My daughter has regular drug tests, wears a patch for drug court and recently went to her dr. for illness. She was drug tested and it showed positive for benzos. She has been clean for almost two years. She swears she didn't use anything. She asked the nurse to repeat the test and it still showed positive. She had to test for drug court later in the day.

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