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What Is a 10-Panel Drug Screen Test?

author image Leigh A. Zaykoski
Leigh Zaykoski has been a writer and editor for six years. Her medical writing has appeared on dozens of websites. Zaykoski attended the University of Pittsburgh and Keystone College, studying microbiology and business administration. She is currently pursuing a medical writing certification.
What Is a 10-Panel Drug Screen Test?
The 10-panel drug screen tests for cocaine and as other substances. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images


The 10-panel drug screen test is used to check for the presence of 10 different drugs of abuse -- including recreational or street drugs and certain commonly abused prescription drugs. Most commonly tested using a urine sample, this test is relatively simple to use. Home and office tests can provide results in minutes, making these screening tests a valuable tool for parents, employers, occupational medicine providers and law enforcement officials.

Drugs Tested

Since many drugs have the potential for abuse, 5- or 10-panel drug tests are commonly used to screen for the presence of these drugs. A typical 5-panel drug test checks for the presence of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP) and opioids -- a category that includes heroin and the pain relievers oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and morphine. A 10-panel test also commonly tests for benzodiazepines and barbiturates, used to treat anxiety and insomnia, methadone and propoxyphene, both pain relievers, and methaqualone (Quaaludes).

Types of Tests

Urine testing is the most common method of home or office drug screening. To perform the test, a test card is placed in fresh, unadulterated urine for the specified length of time, and the card immediately wicks up the urine into a test window. Some tests provide results within minutes with the appearance of a control line -- and a second line if the test is negative. Some home and office tests provide the option of sending the urine or test card to a lab for more precise or detailed results. Hair, saliva, breath and blood tests may also be available as 10-panel drug screening tests.

Why Testing is Done

Sometimes these tests are used by parents to test their children or teens for suspected drug use. Athletes, members of the military and people in substance abuse programs may be routinely tested. The 10-panel drug screen also has applications in the fields of occupational medicine and law enforcement. It may be used to determine if an employee was under the influence of drugs at the time of a workplace accident or injury. Employers may also use this test to screen potential employees for drug use. Law enforcement officials may use this test to monitor offenders who are on probation or enrolled in work release programs. I


While these drug tests claim to be nearly 100 percent accurate, several factors can influence the accuracy and validity of drug screen tests -- particularly with urine tests. To optimize accuracy, it's important to observe urine sample collection whenever possible to ensure the urine came from the person tested, and was not adulterated. Some drugs are only detectable within a few days of use, while others can be detected for weeks after use. A clear understanding of your current medications is needed to interpret test results, as certain prescription drugs contain some of the substances screened for in the 10-panel test. If you have any questions about your drug screen results, contact your doctor.

Reviewed by: Kay Peck, MPH RD

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