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Pharmacy and Medications

Drug screen testing

08/09/2006

Question:

Can the proton pump inhibitor Nexium cause a false positive benzodiazepine on a drug screen?

Answer:

Another name for Nexium is esomeprazole. We would not expect esomeprazole to cause a false positive for benzodiazepines on a urine drug screen (UDS). However, there are a number of drug screen products on the market and we don't have information on the specificity of all tests.

False positives are a potential problem with UDS's in general. For this reason, positive results must be confirmed by a more specific test in order for them to be legally binding. The current standard for confirmatory tests is gas chromatography/mass spectrophotometry, often abbreviated GC/MS for obvious reasons.

If a positive UDS result affects your livelihood, or legal status and a confirmatory test has not been done, or if the UDS is conducted unfairly in any way, you may have legal recourse. An attorney may provide further assistance.

This response was prepared in part by Carrie Johnson , a pharmacy student at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy

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Response by:

Robert James Goetz, PharmD, DABAT
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati