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View Full Version : EtG test accuracy if taking cough syrup (NyQuil)?



LexLu
Jan 20, 2012, 11:32 AM
I took an ETG test this morning and I've been taking NyQuil because of an aweful cold for the past week (nighttime with 10% alcohol). I showed the bottle to the tester... But I'm still scared. Anyone know if I should relax... I have to wait all weekend...

DrBill100
Jan 20, 2012, 11:57 AM
The test will in all likelihood be positive and that is especially so if you took the NyQuil within 6-12 hours of the test. It would be unusual and counter to the claims of the test if it did not show positive.

DrBill100
Jan 20, 2012, 12:00 PM
Removed: Duplicated for some reason

LexLu
Jan 20, 2012, 12:15 PM
Since I brought my bottle of NyQuil to show them... and I also showed a doctor's note saying I've been very sick and need to take cough syrup (actually they gave me codeine cough syrup but I opted to take the NyQuil instead)... Do you think the "positive" will be ruled out?

(I'm very scared... this is not what I need... I've been wrongfully accused by my employer based on a bad interaction I have with a co-worker... she just doesn't like me and makes up lies about me). I drink socially. That's it. I had a glass of wine Tuesday night at dinner (I also told the counselor this)... DO you think this will be held against me... or is a positive... an absolute positive.. (I have no expectation of abstinence). But the guy told me that he'd put me in this program if I was positive... (so maybe that's a relative term).

DrBill100
Jan 20, 2012, 12:29 PM
This is a very confusing scenario. Given that there is no requirement for or expectation of abstinence then an EtG test serves no function whatsoever.

EtG cannot quantitatively assess consumption. Positive could result from dose of cough syrup, mouth wash or fifth of scotch. The test cannot be used as a means of determining impairment or as a basis for back-extrapolating amount of consumption.

I have no idea how your employer will interpret the results but can assure you it is an improper method for accomplishing the purpose you describe.

LexLu
Jan 20, 2012, 12:37 PM
This is why I'm scared. Luckily my Psychiatrist / Therapist is on my side. I have a 5 year history with her... and she told me cooperate with them... and at first I could tell she was troubled by what the employee-counselor told her... After I talked with her I feel so relieved to have her on my side.

Nonetheless, I'm starting to feel like I should contact a lawyer to cover my bases... Is this jumping the gun? Do you know what area of law I should be looking for said lawyer (if I decide to look)??

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR MANY REPLIES :)

DrBill100
Jan 20, 2012, 12:52 PM
I am not much on legal matters. I can tell you that EtG testing is a medical examination and not a drug test as those terms are defined in EEOC and ADA* rules and regs. The fact that you are seeing a psychiatrist, depending on diagnosis, may grant protections under the latter.

If you feel it necessary to obtain a lawyer you should look for one in employment (labor) law that understands the ins-and-outs of the ADA and employee exams and tests.

Someone is grossly misinformed about the uses and appropriateness of testing methods.

*Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance
Americans with Disabilities Act (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/guidance-inquiries.html)

LexLu
Jan 22, 2012, 09:57 AM
Also the test form says something about mass spec or EtG to confirm. This is not the same thing right?

DrBill100
Jan 22, 2012, 10:09 AM
Also the test form says something about mass spec or EtG to confirm. This is not the same thing right?

Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) is a more precise method of confirming the presence of EtG if the initial immunoassay (screen) is positive. Otherwise the GC/MS is not used. The IA can only determine that the EtG is present, reads either positive or negative while the GC/MS can quantify the result, i.e. X parts per unit of urine.

LexLu
Jan 22, 2012, 10:28 AM
So then if I've been regularly taking Nyquil for the past 2 weeks at night (due to a severe cold)... it would show up that I'm an alcoholic right?

DrBill100
Jan 22, 2012, 11:02 AM
So then if I've been regularly taking Nyquil for the past 2 weeks at night (due to a severe cold).... it would show up that I'm an alcoholic right?

Not really. The EtG test cannot determine even the amount of consumption or when consumed.

If the test is properly conducted and you are positive for EtG in the initial screen, then a confirmatory test should be performed. The second test would quantify the amount of EtG present. From the small amount of alcohol you consumed that count should be low (even considering the wine).

Unfortunately, the testing labs offer a screen only and that is particularly true in employment testing. In that circumstance that simply relies on the initial screen, either positive or negative. Under that scenario it can't be determined if you used mouthwash or have been drunk for a month. So in the event they report simply a positive result then you must immediately request a confirmation test.

There is always a chance that your test will be negative. With very low alcohol consumption it is a matter of timing. Just guessing, if there was a 10-12 hour time lapse from the time you took the nyquil it probably won't show. The time span on the glass of wine would be about 18 hours. (both assuming 100 ng cutoff)

It will also depend on the cutoff of the test, 100 or 500. At 500 cutoff your result could very well be negative, once again based on timing.

My problem with your case is that no one seems to know what's going on. Your production of the Nyquil and advice about drinking wine negates the need and purpose of the test. If that basic misunderstanding exists, what further errors in interpretation will occur?

Also, there are blood tests that can rule out heavy drinking. If it comes to that then you could request that assay.

LexLu
Jan 24, 2012, 01:59 PM
So my results are not in so far... Apparently my EtG was positive... and they are confirming the results. The counselor told me that this usually doesn't take so long (results are expected wednesday). I'm freaking. What could make this take longer..? They have to confirm the confirmation??

DrBill100
Jan 24, 2012, 02:09 PM
If the initial screen is positive then, and only then, do they run confirmation testing. Confirmation is performed on different instruments and will usually add 48 hours to test time.

I'm confused by this matter. 1) You advised them that you had consumed alcohol in the form of medicine and a glass of wine. 2) The test is immaterial as it can only confirm what you have said and what is already known.

How is the test going to change the outcome?

LexLu
Jan 24, 2012, 02:26 PM
From what I understand they want to verify that the range is close to 500... that's what he said on the phone to me... I'm sick with worry.

DrBill100
Jan 24, 2012, 02:36 PM
From what I understand they want to verify that the range is close to 500.... that's what he said on the phone to me..... I'm sick with worry.

The results should be low level. However, anyone knowing anything about EtG testing knows that the reading cannot be correlated with amount consumed. That lack of knowledge about the test that is being administered is very troubling.

If there was a question about excessive drinking there are other tests available. The only use for EtG is in determining total abstinence. Nothing further!

Please let me know the results and the read-out.

LexLu
Jan 24, 2012, 02:47 PM
Thank you so much... I will post the result when I know. I've already contacted a lawyer and based on this result I will make a decision about a lawsuit. THANK YOU!

LexLu
Jan 24, 2012, 03:19 PM
Also... I think the EtG was the first test (was positive)... so now they're doing MS to confirm...

DrBill100
Jan 24, 2012, 03:26 PM
If you don't mind my asking, who is paying for this travesty?

LexLu
Jan 24, 2012, 03:32 PM
My insurance has covered most of this so far... I guess I had to pay 25$ co-pay. But the real money issue occurs because now my therapist wants me to see her every single week... for 150$ a session. I CAN NOT AFFORD THIS. I'm going to meet her tomorrow... also I was going to suggest that the session time be cut in half if she needs to see me every week (I can barely afford to pay every two weeks as well... so it sucks all around). I don't deserve this. I really don't.

DrBill100
Jan 24, 2012, 05:48 PM
When the test results are returned make certain that you get an actual copy of the results. Do not accept a statement or interpretation from anyone. The lab copy will have all of the results, equipment used, the tests performed and an identifier number. You will need all of that to properly interpret the test and challenge the results if necessary.

LexLu
Jan 24, 2012, 06:27 PM
Thank you so much... that is valuable information. I hope I won't have to challenge the results. I'm so tired of having my life under a microscope.

LexLu
Jan 26, 2012, 04:49 PM
I can not believe that my results aren't back after submitting my sample last Friday AM at 9:40. What could this mean?!

DrBill100
Jan 26, 2012, 05:09 PM
The time isn't surprising, the labs process thousands of EtGs daily. Even 2 weeks isn't unusual.

LexLu
Feb 19, 2012, 05:46 PM
Ok so my levels were 1700 they said. Now I have to attend 6 weeks of classes. It sucks. But could be worse. I guess I really don't have to do it... but if I want to keep my job I have to. So my new question is: can I drink 2 glasses of wine on Sunday night and pass an ETG test on Tuesday night? I know it sounds ridiculous... but I would like to have 2 glasses of wine tonight... but there is a chance I'll be tested on Tuesday night and I just want to know.

Thank you

DrBill100
Feb 19, 2012, 05:55 PM
Ok so my levels were 1700 they said. Now I have to attend 6 weeks of classes. It sucks. but could be worse. I guess I really don't have to do it .... but if I want to keep my job I have to. So my new question is: can I drink 2 glasses of wine on Sunday night and pass an ETG test on Tuesday night? I know it sounds ridiculous... but I would like to have 2 glasses of wine tonight.... but there is a chance I'll be tested on Tuesday night and I just want to know.

thank you

No I wouldn't recommend drinking even one glass of wine within 2 days of the test.

LexLu
Feb 19, 2012, 07:17 PM
Thank you

LexLu
Feb 21, 2012, 07:35 PM
Thank you Dr Bill for being a resource to people (like me that you don't even know). I know that I've really appreciated your advice. I have to admit after all of this drama and testing... I'm happy that I'm almost finished with this alcohol class (that I had to take to keep my job). But it has been somewhat enlightening for me... not the classes to be honest... that's a joke... but being forced to not drink and actually make a concerted effort to not drink. This made me realize that I think I was fooling myself before. I still have a drink with dinner sometimes... BUT--- now -- I've not drank for 66+ hours before the time I could be tested. I haven't been told I've failed... but based on my previous 2-3 week long test reply before, I'm not going to just assume I did (but I really think it's cool)... what's weird is just recognizing that I didn't realize myself --drinking is not a free-for-all... I must not do it (and at first ---it was only the fear of getting caught)... this alone has had the impact on me--> I'm feeling like my old self somehow...

I've joined the gym again... and I realized that I miss running so much and I have found that desire (that I lost) to exercise! I think I somehow became lazy (I've never been lazy!. and replaced exercise with a glass of wine here and there... ).

Just wanted to share my feelings about this ordeal... and thank you for your patient guidance to people you don't even know. THANK YOU!