Different types of drug tests are available with their own advantages and disadvantages. The most popular types of tests are available in cup and dip card form. The battle of drug test cups vs drug test dip cards has been a factor in the drug testing industry for a long time.
This article will discuss the advantages and differences of both types of tests. Which one should you choose?
Drug Testing is a Commonplace Practice
Drug tests are conducted for various purposes at the workplace, sober living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and also to monitor prescription medication intake.
In order to detect inappropriate drug use, rapid and efficient screening methods are required. Generally, a sample of blood, saliva, sweat, hair or urine is taken to determine whether a person is under the influence of an illicit substance, or has been in the recent past.
Urine samples are the most commonly used samples in drug testing. The sample can be easily collected without coming in contact with the urine. This is due to the availability of many types of tests, including drug test cups and dip cards.
The urine drug test cup is the most common form of drug test and it is an immunoassay test. This test is part of “Point of Care Testing” (POCT); it produces rapid results and is cost effective in the long term.
If a drug test cup produces a presumed positive result, follow-up laboratory testing is used to confirm the results. Laboratory confirmatory testing testing usually require liquid or gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GCMS or LCMS) to confirm the presence of drugs; results are compiled in the form of a formal report. The immunoassay drug cup test method integrates a collection container with testing technology and produces results without requiring laboratory procedures, except in the event of a positive result, when a confirmation lab test is required.
The test itself is quite simple; a urine sample is collected in the cup containing a built-in specimen test and temperature strip. The test results are indicated by the colored bands in the results area. Test strips depend on antibodies present in the strips to react to the targeted drug or it’s metabolites.
Swift and accurate results are the biggest advantage that drug cup tests offer. Since this test is so easy to use, it doesn’t require extensive training. Strips are built into the cup, so there is no need to come in contact with the urine.
Drug test cups can detect the presence of multiple drugs, depending on the substances being tested, including, most commonly opioids, marijuana, amphetamines and cocaine. The drug cup test is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and most drug cup tests are CLIA waived.
One potential disadvantage is that it may produce false positives or negatives, but this isn’t exclusive to drug test cups. This is a drawback of all types of rapid drug tests.
Drug test dip cards are an alternative to drug cup tests and are available as single panel dip cards and multiple panel dip cards. With this type of urine screening method, a sample is collected in a separate sterile cup and card tabs are dipped in it; within a few minutes, an accurate result is produced.
Drug test dip cards offer rapid results which is a big advantage. Another factor that promotes the use of the drug test dip cards is affordability. They are easy to use, cleared by the FDA and is also CLIA waived.
They are not as convenient as a drug test cup because the person conducting the screening must first take a sample of the subject’s urine in an empty sterile cup, and dip the strips themselves. Hence, they create a greater risk of exposure to urine.
Final Word on Drug Test Cups VS Dip Cards
Both drug test cups and drug test dip cards offer advantages such as affordability, convenience and quick results. When it comes to reliability and accuracy, both methods provide very high accuracy.
The main difference is that drug test cups have testing strips built into them, whereas the test dip cards require one to use separate collection cups and dip the strips in it yourself.
Therefore, cups offer more convenience because one only needs to take a sample in the cup, without any additional steps.
Although they can be slightly more costly, they offer ease of use to those who prefer decreased exposure to urine. Both test types are also easy to store and have a long shelf life of up to two years.