New ED test screens for drugs in less than five minutes

The Rockville, MD-based U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug testing device from Roche Diagnostics of Indianapolis that specifically assesses the drug-use status of ED patients. ONTRAK TESTCUP-er is capable of simultaneous detection of cocaine, morphine, amphetamines, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines, providing positive or negative results in less than five minutes.

Nearly 500,000 ED visits annually are directly linked to illicit drug abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Roche’s new product will help ED and hospital laboratory professionals quickly determine if a patient is under the influence of drugs — and which ones. The speed in obtaining this information can be of critical value in treating certain cases, such as suspected overdoses.

The device eliminates the need for prolonged handling of urine samples, timing, pipetting, mixing, instrument calibration and maintenance, and other aspects of most drug testing methods. It is designed to be a "hands-off" test, a significant benefit in hospital laboratories with urgent demands.