Why Oxycodone Is Not Effectively Detected On The Standard Opiate Test Strip

Are You Properly Testing For Oxycodone?

A common misconception many people have in regards to testing for oxycodone is that it can be properly detected with the standard opiate (OPI 300) test strip. Although oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicodone) are considered to be opiates, the structure of oxycodone is not close enough to be detected by the standard opiate (OPI 300) test strip.

So What Does Cross React With The Standard Opiate (OPI 300) Test Strip?

The standard opiate test strip cross reacts with morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab), hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and heroin. Reflected in the package insert of our
Premier Bio-Cup and Premier Bio-Dip (rapid urine tests), the standard OPI 300 test strip cross
reacts with:

  • morphine: 300 ng/mL
  • codeine: 100 ng/mL
  • heroin: 8,000 ng/mL
  • hydrocodone: 1,250 ng/mL
  • oxycodone: 75,000 ng/mL

In a study conducted by The Journal of Analytical Toxicology; urine specimens obtained from 32,656 patients prescribed oxycodone within a clinical/pain setting, had an average oxycodone level of 9,015 ng/mL. This study helps to illustrate the reality that it is very unlikely someone taking oxycodone (especially in a corrections/non-prescribed setting) would show a positive result on the OPI 300 test strip.

Illustrating The Separate Metabolic Pathways Of OPI And OXY

The following flow-chart shows the different metabolic pathways of both OPI and OXY. Opiates (represented in blue) have a completely separate metabolic pathway to OXY (represented in orange). This is a helpful reference to illustrate how the laboratory utilizes mass spectrometry results to identify specific analytes in a specimen. For example, heroin (top right) within minutes will break down to
6-Acetylmorphine. 6-Acetylmorphine is what the lab is testing for to confirm heroin use. 6-Acetylmorphine will than continue to break down into morphine and down the rest of the metabolic pathway from there. The solid arrows in the metabolic pathways indicate major metabolites and the dashed lines minor metabolites.

Based on the chart below, if someone is taking hydrocodone (prescribed or not) we would expect to see hydrocodone present and possibly, dihydrocoeine, norhydrocodone or hydromorphone. We than should never see codeine, morphine or 6-Acetylmorphine. The presence of any of those would not be a result of the donor taking hydrocodone.

Now For Some Laboratory Supported Case Studies

To illustrate the importance of adding an OXY specific strip to your testing menu, we have outlined the following three case studies including metabolism charts and confirmation reports provided by Premier Biotech Labs.


  • Qualitative result = Indicates some OPI found in the sample
  • Is it Codeine? Morphine? Hydrocodone? Heroin? A combination of these?
  • Lab LC-MS/MS will indicate
    the specific opiate
*Laboratory LC-MS/MS confirmation report
[pdf-embedder url="https://premierbiotech.com/innovation/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Lab-Report-1.pdf"]
*Plus signs correspond with positive analytes shown in the laboratory LC-MS/MS confirmation report

  • Qualitative result- OXY
    present in specimen
  • No cross reactivity with Opiates
    *This is what we would expect to see when someone is taking an OXY (Oxycontin, Percocet, Opana) either prescribed or
    not prescribed
  • Lab Confirmation indicates Oxycodone or Oxymorphone?
*Laboratory LC-MS/MS confirmation report
[pdf-embedder url="https://premierbiotech.com/innovation/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Lab-Report-B-2.pdf"]
*Plus signs correspond with positive analytes shown in the laboratory LC-MS/MS confirmation report

  • Qualitative result = BOTH OPI
    and OXY in specimen
  • Because of OPI metabolism,
    likely at least 2 different substances present
  • Which OPI? Codeine?Hydrocodone? Morphine? Heroin? A combination of these?
  • Lab LC-MS/MS will indicate absolute specificity
*Laboratory LC-MS/MS confirmation report
[pdf-embedder url="https://premierbiotech.com/innovation/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Lab-Report-C-3.pdf"]
*Plus signs correspond with positive analytes shown in the laboratory LC-MS/MS confirmation report

Premier Biotech’s Rapid Urine And Oral Fluid Products

Properly testing for oxycodone is extremely important. Premier Biotech’s innovative urine and oral fluid product portfolio includes exclusive configurations that tests for many of the prescription opioids and the most relevant drugs of abuse including oxycodone, fentanyl, tramadol, buprenorphine 5ng/mL, and more.

Contact Us To Learn More About Our Innovative Urine And Oral Fluid Testing Products And Laboratory Solutions.