Oral Fluid Drug Testing
Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Why Use Oral Fluid Drug Testing?

Convenient Collection
LabCorp's oral fluid drug testing program provides a simple method to collect chain-of-custody drug screen specimens almost anywhere. The oral fluid collection is directly observed, making it less susceptible to specimen adulteration.1 The donor simply opens the sealed collection device, places it in his or her mouth, and the collector transfers the specimen into the transport tube for shipment to the laboratory. 

Sensitive Testing
Because oral fluid specimens require much lower screening levels than urine, LabCorp performs the initial screening test by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) microplate technology. ELISA is one of the current screening methods with adequate sensitivity to detect drugs of abuse in oral fluid specimens.1 LabCorp offers confirmation of presumptive positive screens using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or GC/MS/MS.

Our oral fluid drug test profile contains

  • Amphetamine/methamphetamine/ecstasy
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cannabinoid (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Opiates (codeine, morphine, 6-acetylmorphine)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Propoxyphene

Results for specimens that screen negative for all drugs are generally available within 24 hours after specimens are received at the laboratory. Results for confirmation testing of presumptive positive screens are usually available within an additional 72 hours.

FAQs About Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Q: Why is the oral fluid specimen placed in a fluid buffer?
The buffer solution is used to inhibit bacterial growth.

Q: What is the drug detection window for oral fluid testing?
Depending on the drug used, dose, and route of administration, a drug may be detected in oral fluid in less than one hour and remain detectable for five up to 48 hours after last use.1,2

Q: How does the drug detection window for oral fluid compare to urine and hair?
Drug detection times vary depending on the dose, sensitivity of the testing method used, preparation and route of administration, duration of use (acute or chronic), the matrix that is analyzed, the molecule or metabolite that is looked for, the pH and concentration of the matrix (urine, oral fluid), and variations in metabolic and renal clearance. In general, the detection time is longest in hair, followed by urine and oral fluid. Drugs in hair may be detectable for up to 90 days, whereas drugs in urine are generally detectable for one to seven days (or longer in chronic users) and in oral fluid from five to 48 hours.2

Q: Can substances such as food, beverages, over-the-counter medication, and mouthwash affect the oral fluid drug test results?
Yes. For this reason, the donor is to refrain from consumption of food or beverages for 10 minutes prior to specimen collection.1

To set up an oral fluid drug testing program, contact LabCorp Sales.


  1. Proposed revisions to Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. Federal Register. April 11, 1988; 53:11970; amended June 9, 1994; 59:29908: September 30, 1997; 62:51118; April 13, 2004; 69:19675-19679.
  2. Verstraete, AG. Detection times of drugs of abuse in blood, urine, and oral fluid. Ther Drug Monit. 2004:28(2):200-205.