April 20, 2024
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Drug testing is a common practice in many workplaces, schools, sports, and other institutions. One of the commonly tested drugs is methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant that can cause euphoria, increased alertness, and energy. However, methamphetamine is also a highly addictive and illegal drug that can cause serious health problems and legal consequences. Unfortunately, some supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) medications contain ingredients that can trigger a false positive for methamphetamine in drug tests. In this article, we’ll explore some of the supplements that can cause a false positive for methamphetamine and why it’s important to be aware of these potential risks.

What is a False Positive in Drug Testing?

A false positive in drug testing means that a test result shows the presence of a drug when the person has not taken that drug. False positives can occur due to various reasons, such as:

  • Cross-reactivity: Some substances can trigger a positive result for a drug in a test due to their chemical similarity or interaction with the test reagents or antibodies.
  • Contamination: Some samples, equipment, or surfaces used in testing can contain traces of a drug that can contaminate the test results.
  • Human error: Some mistakes in sample collection, labeling, handling, or analysis can lead to incorrect or mixed up results.

False positives can have serious consequences, such as job loss, suspension, expulsion, legal charges, or damage to reputation and credibility. Therefore, it’s important to minimize the risk of false positives by following the testing protocol, avoiding substances that can interfere with the test, and verifying the results with a confirmatory test if needed.

What are Some Supplements That Can Cause a False Positive for Methamphetamine?

Some supplements that can cause a false positive for methamphetamine are:

Ephedra or Ma Huang

Ephedra or Ma Huang is a herb that contains ephedrine, a stimulant that can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Ephedrine is chemically similar to methamphetamine, and its use can trigger a positive result for methamphetamine in a drug test. Ephedra is banned by the FDA due to its potential health risks, such as heart attack, stroke, and death.

Sudafed or Pseudoephedrine

Sudafed or pseudoephedrine is an OTC medication that is used to relieve congestion and sinus pressure. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that can also stimulate the central nervous system and cause mild euphoria. Pseudoephedrine can be converted into methamphetamine by a chemical process called “cooking,” which is why it is tightly regulated and requires a prescription or ID to purchase. However, consuming large amounts of pseudoephedrine in a short time can also trigger a false positive for methamphetamine in a drug test.

Vicks Inhaler or Levmetamfetamine

Vicks Inhaler or levmetamfetamine is an OTC inhaler that is used to relieve nasal congestion and cough. Levmetamfetamine is a nasal decongestant that is chemically related to methamphetamine, but its effects are milder and shorter-lasting. However, levmetamfetamine can also trigger a false positive for methamphetamine in a drug test, especially if it is used in high doses or frequently.

Weight Loss Supplements

Some weight loss supplements, especially those that claim to boost metabolism or energy, can contain stimulants that are similar to methamphetamine. Examples of these stimulants are:

  • Phenylethylamine (PEA): a compound that can increase mood, focus, and energy, but can also cause rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and anxiety.
  • Synephrine: a compound that can increase fat burning, but can also cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and stroke.
  • Acacia rigidula: a plant extract that can mimic the effects of amphetamines, but can also cause nausea, vomiting, and liver damage.

These substances can trigger a false positive for methamphetamine or amphetamine in a drug test, and their use can also pose risks to health and safety.


In summary, several supplements and OTC medications can cause a false positive for methamphetamine in a drug test. These include ephedra or Ma Huang, Sudafed or pseudoephedrine, Vicks Inhaler or levmetamfetamine, and some weight loss supplements that contain stimulants. To avoid false positives and potential health risks, it’s important to read the labels of all supplements and medications that you use, inform your healthcare provider or employer about any relevant substance use, and be cautious about trying new products that claim to enhance performance or weight loss. If you suspect a false positive in your drug test, ask for a confirmatory test or seek legal advice to protect your rights and reputation.

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