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Amphetamine Screen (Urine)

Does this test have other names?

Drug test, AMP, toxicology urine screen

What is this test?

This test looks for amphetamine in your urine. Amphetamine is a drug that stimulates your central nervous system. It can show up in your urine long after you've taken it. Amphetamines include methamphetamine (meth) and phentermine.

Amphetamine is a commonly used street drug. It makes users feel very alert and have lots of energy. Stimulants like amphetamine and methamphetamine can also make the user feel very happy. But they can also make users feel very agitated and have delusions and hallucinations. Users feel aggressive and paranoid. They may be violent. Abusing these drugs can also cause other serious health problems. These include stroke, heart disease, convulsions, and severe tooth decay.

Amphetamine also has uses for health. Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe the drug in small doses for people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Healthcare providers also sometimes give the drug to treat depression, obesity, and narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder marked by falling into a sudden deep sleep in places or at times when you shouldn’t.

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 healthcare provider may use this test to make sure you are taking your dose. An ER healthcare provider may also order a blood or urine screen for methamphetamine if you come to the ER with signs of a drug overdose. Methamphetamine changes to amphetamine in the body. Signs of drug overdose include:

  • Hyperactivity

  • High blood pressure

  • Dilated pupils

  • High body temperature (hyperthermia)

  • Aggressiveness

  • Irrational violence

  • Psychosis

  • Rapid heart beat

  • Severe agitation

Even if you do not use amphetamines, you may need this test to get a job. If you are a parolee or someone being treated for drug use disorder, you may also need this test to show that you are not using drugs.

Companies often use urine tests to screen new employees for drugs, including amphetamine. Urine tests cost less than blood tests. But they can be a problem because people have found ways to cheat the test and appear drug free. Cheating usually involves adding something to the urine sample to change the test results.

Some testers watch during the test to prevent cheating.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

You may also have a blood test to screen for drugs such as amphetamine. Amphetamine can even be found in a strand of your hair. But this test is not considered to work as well as a blood or urine test.

If you have injected amphetamines or other drugs, your healthcare provider may test you for viruses that commonly affect drug users. These might be HIV or hepatitis B or C.

If you have signs of a methamphetamine overdose, a healthcare provider may also order a fingerstick blood sugar test, acetaminophen test, and ECG. This is to rule out other health emergencies or to monitor your condition. Healthcare 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 healthcare provider.

A positive result means you most likely have used this drug in the last 1 to 4 days. If you take amphetamine often, it may show up in your urine for up to a week after using it.

Results only show that amphetamine was in your system at the time of the test. A positive test result should be confirmed by a lab. Healthcare providers diagnose amphetamine use disorder only after a physical exam. This includes taking your personal history and talking with you. If you have a problem with amphetamine use, your provider can suggest treatment for addiction, drug use disorder, or depression.   

How is this test done?

This test requires a urine sample to be tested in a lab.

Does this test pose any risks?

This test poses no known risk.

The results of your test may affect your ability to get a driver's license or a job, join the military, or play certain sports.

What might affect my test results?

In some cases, it's possible to get a positive test result even if you do not take amphetamines. This is called a false positive. Test results may come back positive if you have taken certain antihistamines, nasal inhalers, or cold medicines. You may also get a false positive if you take certain medicines for depression. These include tricyclic medicines, quetiapine, and bupropion. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take could cause a false positive test result.

How do I get ready for this test?

You do not need to prepare for this test. 


Online Medical Reviewer: Chad Haldeman-Englert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Godsey
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2019
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.