Identification of polysubstance abuse in the parturient

D. J. Birnbach, I. M. Browne, A. Kim, D. J. Stein, D. M. Thys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Illicit drugs are widely used by inner city patients and their use by pregnant women has increased in recent years. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of polysubstance abuse among parturients at our institution who received no prenatal care ('unbooked') and to determine the accuracy of the Ontrak TesT cup™ an in vitro immunodiagnostic assay. We prospectively analysed urine from 50 'unbooked' parturients and found that 26 (52%) tested positive for cocaine. Of these, six patients (23%) were also positive for morphine. All TesT cup™ results were confirmed by the hospital laboratory using alternate chemical methods. When comparing TesTt cup™ to the hospital laboratory, there were no false positive or negative results. Given the high frequency of concomitant opioid abuse in cocaine-abusing parturients, anyone suspected of cocaine abuse should be tested for other illicit substances. TesTcup™ is a clinically accurate test that allows the rapid assessment of several drugs of abuse, which may impact on anaesthetic care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-490
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications, polysubstance abuse
  • Pregnancy, polysubstance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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