Are Expired Drug Tests Accurate?
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If you are looking to administer an at-home drug test there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you are getting accurate results. While tests run in a lab will provide more reliable results, personal tests have become increasingly inexpensive, accurate, and readily available.
Whether you are looking to test at home before employment screening or a legal proceeding, being able to test accurately can be pivotal.
We’ll talk about the best practices when performing your test at home, as well as their shelf life and veracity.
How to Test at Home
A fairly simple process, all you will need is an in-home testing strip and a urine sample. After collecting the sample in a cup, allow the urine to cool to room temperature before beginning the test.
After the urine has cooled, remove one of the strips from the testing package and submerge it for 10 seconds.
After you have removed the strip, place it on a flat surface and wait until the indicators appear. The results should appear fairly quickly, with about an average of 5-10 minutes for accurate results.
Make sure to understand the markers for positive or negative results, which should be provided within the test kit.
The Accuracy of Expired Test Results
When it comes time to administer your at-home drug test you may find yourself with an expired kit, which raises the question of accurate results. A standard test will have a reliable window of about 24 months, after which you should consider replacing the test.
While your test may perform as expected, these results should not be considered as trustworthy as brand new strips.
Factors such as storage, date past expiration, and manufacturing can all sway the reliability. As a rule of thumb, the poorer the condition of the test kit combined with the time past the expiration will increase the overall inaccuracy.
Unreliable tests can also be caused by:
- Excessive humidity
- Damaged packaging
- Improper administration of the test
Remember that certain at-home tests inherently come with a certain level of unreliability, which will only be exacerbated by expiration. When in doubt, replace any expired or damaged tests if you are looking for accurate results.
Because tests aren’t 100% accurate, it is best to perform multiple tests at home with separate kits and samples. Or, if possible, test at home initially and send away for a more exhaustive and reliable laboratory-based test. This will ensure the highest level of accuracy and clarity in your results.