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Name: Toxicology

Description: Tests to determine the type and approximate amount of legal and illegal drugs a person has taken

This casebook is published and has been read 1642 times.

The author of this casebook has identified the following medical topics as being highly relevant to this casebook.

Notes

A toxicology screen refers to various tests to determine the type and approximate amount of legal and illegal drugs a person has taken.

Toxicology screening is most often done using a blood or urine sample. However, it may be done soon after swallowing the medication, using stomach contents that are obtained through gastric lavage or after vomiting.

This test is often done in emergency medical situations. It can be used to evaluate possible accidental or intentional overdose or poisoning. It may help determine the cause of acute drug toxicity, to monitor drug dependency, and to determine the presence of substances in the body for medical or legal purposes.

If the test is used as a drug screen, it must be done during a certain time period after the drug has been taken or while forms of the drug can still be detected in the body. Examples are below:

  • Alcohol: 3 to 10 hours
  • Amphetamines: 24 to 48 hours
  • Barbiturates: up to 6 weeks
  • Benzodiazepines: up to 6 weeks with high level use
  • Cocaine: 2 to 4 days; up to 10 to 22 days with heavy use
  • Codeine: 1 to 2 days
  • Heroin: 1 to 2 days
  • Hydromorphone: 1 to 2 days
  • Methadone: 2 to 3 days
  • Morphine: 1 to 2 days
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): 1 to 8 days
  • Propoxyphene: 6 to 48 hours
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): 6 to 11 weeks with heavy use

Commonly found substances on a toxicology screen include:

  • Alcohol (ethanol) -- "drinking" alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Barbiturates and hypnotics
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Narcotics
  • Non-narcotic pain medicines including acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • PCP
  • Phenothiazines (antipsychotic or tranquilizing medications)
  • Prescription medications, any type

 

Bookmarks The following information, which has been distilled by the casebook author from this and other websites is particularly relevant to this casebook.
Bookmarks - Web
Web Page Notes Concepts
 Toxicology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Good introduction to the field (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 American College of Medical Toxicology Forensic Toxicology Course (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 Society of Toxicology Includes information for the general public (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 TOXNET For professionals. Focused on environmental toxins, not side effects of drugs (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Toxicology screen Basic definitions, reasons for testing, lots of links (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 Environmental Health Science Education: Curricular Material for Teachers Educational materials from the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 American Association of Poison Control Centers American Association of Poison Control Centers. Find your local poison control center (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 
 POISON PREVENTION.ORG For poison emergencies call 1-800-222-1222 (Laboratory Diagnosis)
 

This web-site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your doctor. It should not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.