Amphetamine Screen (Blood)
Does this test have other names?
Amphetamine concentrations screen (blood), amphetamine screen (blood)
What is this test?
This test measures the amount of a drug called amphetamine in your blood. This drug
is a central nervous system stimulant. This group of drugs also includes methamphetamine,
or "meth." The test is most commonly used to screen for drug abuse. It's often required
by the court system and some workplaces. If you show symptoms of an amphetamine overdose,
such as severe agitation and psychosis, a health care provider may order this test.
Amphetamine is a commonly used recreational drug that overstimulates the central nervous
system and makes users feel unusually alert, energetic, and productive. Stimulants
like amphetamine and methamphetamine can also cause euphoria, overwhelming agitation,
delusions, and hallucinations. Feelings of aggression and paranoia can make people
more prone to violence. Abusing these drugs can also cause other serious health problems,
including stroke, heart disease, convulsions, and severe tooth decay.
Amphetamine also has medical uses. Health care providers sometimes prescribe the drug
in small doses for patients with attention-deficit disorder, or ADD, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder, or ADHD. Health care providers also sometimes use the drug to treat depression
and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder marked by falling into a sudden deep sleep in inappropriate
places or situations.
The test can distinguish between abuse and prescription use.
Why do I need this test?
Amphetamine can be dangerous to your health if you take too much. If you have been
prescribed this drug, your doctor may use this test to make sure you are getting the
correct, safe dose.
If you come to the ER with signs of a drug overdose, the ER doctor may also order
a blood or urine screen for methamphetamine, which metabolizes to amphetamine. Signs
of an overdose include:
Even if you don't use amphetamines, your workplace may require you to have the test
as a condition of employment. If you are a parolee or someone being treated for drug
abuse, you may need to take this test to show that you are "clean."
What other tests might I have along with this test?
You might also need a urine test to screen for amphetamine or a blood test to check
for other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.
If you have signs of a methamphetamine overdose, a health care provider may also order
a fingerstick blood sugar test, an acetaminophen test, and an ECG to rule out other
medical emergencies or monitor your condition. Health care providers may also order
tests to check your electrolyte balance and the health of your kidneys and liver.
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health
A test showing small amphetamine concentrations in your body is not necessarily cause
for alarm. On the other hand, large amounts of the drug in your system can be dangerous
or even deadly. Here are the ranges typically used in these blood tests:
Levels of amphetamine within the range 0.02 to 0.05 milligrams/liter (mg/L) and even
up to 0.2 mg/L fall under the category of therapeutic, or prescribed use.
A concentration greater 0.2 mg/L is likely a sign of abuse.
Levels greater than 2.5 mg/L can be toxic and possibly fatal.
The results of this test only show the amount of amphetamine in your system at the
time of the test. Health care providers diagnose amphetamine abuse only after a physical
exam that includes taking your personal history and talking with you. If you have
a problem with amphetamine abuse, your doctor can suggest treatment for addiction,
drug abuse, or depression.
How is this test done?
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your
Does this test pose any risks?
The risks are very minor. The needle may feel uncomfortable or painful. You may experience
bruising, soreness, or pain in your hand or arm at the puncture spot. These symptoms
usually go away soon after the test is over.
What might affect my test results?
Although blood tests for amphetamines cost more than urine tests, they are the more
accurate testing method. It's possible to alter a urine test if a tester is not present
when the sample is taken.
How do I get ready for this test?
No preparation is needed for this test.