Test Catalog

Test ID: DSS    
Drug Screen, Prescription/Over the Counter, Serum

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Detection and identification of prescription or over the counter drugs frequently found in drug overdose or used with a suicidal intent


Qualitatively identifying drugs present in the specimen; quantification of identified drugs, when available, may be performed upon client request


This test is not intended for therapeutic drug monitoring or compliance testing.


This test is not intended for use in employment-related testing.


This test is not useful for drugs of abuse or illicit drug testing, including benzodiazepines, opioids, barbiturates, cocaine, amphetamine type stimulants.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

This test looks for a broad spectrum of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. It is designed to detect drugs that have toxic effects, as well as known antidotes or active therapies that a clinician can initiate to treat the toxic effect. The test is intended to help physicians manage an apparent overdose or intoxicated patient, or to determine if a specific set of symptoms might be due to the presence of drugs. This test is not appropriate for drugs of abuse or illicit drug testing, including benzodiazepines, opioids, barbiturates, cocaine, and amphetamine type stimulants.


Drugs of toxic significance that are not detected by this test are: digoxin, lithium, and many drugs of abuse or illicit drugs, some benzodiazepines, and some opioids.


See Prescription and Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Screens in Special Instructions for detection limits for drugs detected in this test.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

Drugs detected are presumptive. Additional testing may be required to confirm the presence of any drugs detected.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

The drugs that are detected by this test are listed in Prescription and Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Screens in Special Instructions.


The pharmacology of each drug determines how the test should be interpreted. A detailed discussion of each drug is beyond the scope of this text. If you wish to have a report interpreted, call 800-533-1710 and ask for a toxicology consultant.


Each report will indicate the drugs detected.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Specimens collected in serum gel tubes are not acceptable, as the drug/analyte can absorb on the gel and lead to falsely decreased concentrations.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Langman LJ, Bechtel LK, Meier BM, Holstege C: Clinical toxicology. In: Rifai N, Horvath AR, Wittwer CT, eds. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. Elsevier; 2018:1294

2. Baselty RC: Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man. 10th ed.  Biomedical Publications, 2014

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test