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Drug testing relies on reactions between antibodies (on the test strip) and antigens (in the sample, the substance being tested for).
At a lower temperature, reactions occur slower, or not at all.
If your cups are cold you will get inconsistent results, often: panels failing to run, weak/patchy lines, or colours failing to appear on the temperature strip.
Make sure your cups are warm before testing!
For storage, store your cups in a warm office or cupboard, at the temperature range the manufacturer suggests. This is usually from 2°C – 30°C.
When using a cup, the temperature range is smaller. Follow the manufacturer recommendations, usually this is from 15°C – 30°C.
Cold warehouses and vehicles can present a challenge in winter to keep cups at an ideal temperature, but a bit of planning can eliminate these concerns. Have enough cups stored in the office for a few days of testing (plus a some extras for those last minute requests!).
Cups should be stored in an insulated room overnight, as the minimum — a couple of hours in a warm office is not going to be enough to warm up really cold cups, as they’re fairly well insulated in their foil wraps.
Whoops – I ran a test and suspect the the cup was too cold. What can I do?
If you think you have an abnormal result you can test again.
If you’re using a split cup (like the Medix Pro-Split cup), the portion of the sample being tested is split off from the rest of the sample. You can pour the rest of the sample into a new, warmer cup, and repeat the test.
If you’re using a screw top cup (like the MicroScreen cup), ask the donor to give another sample.
As always, these cups are a screening test only. If in doubt after testing again, send the sample to a laboratory for confirmation.