Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
167 Doctors are Online

Have cold, cough, throat infection. Taken Robitussin DM. Does it have opiates? Employment drug test shows positive for opiates

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1462 Questions
Does Robitussin DM have opiates, if long it stays in human body

i had a hard time suffering through cold, cough and throat infection. I purchased a cough syrup named Robitussin DM from a walmart store in Westminster, Colorado. it is an OTC medicine. Below is the link and drug facts of medicine.

Link of medicine

Drug Facts
Active Ingredient
Dextromethorphan hbr, USP 10 mgCough suppressant
Inactive Ingredients
Anhydrous citric acid, artificial & natural flavors, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, d&c red no. 33, FD&C red no. 40, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, menthol, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, propylene glycol, purified water, saccharin sodium, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution, xanthan gum.

I took this medicine for the period starting from April 8 to April 16 2013 then I came back to India. In India, I had to undergo a drug test in my office as a compliance requirement for the new client associated with my company it was conducted on on may 6 2013 where I was found to be positive for opiates.

my questions ?
1) does this cough syrup or any of the ingredients used in this cough syrup has opiates in it ?
2)if answer is yes to above how long it stays in body ?
3) what is the probability of having found opiates in my case .
Your urgent help is highly appreciated in this regard

Posted Thu, 22 Aug 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 28 minutes later
Thanks for your query.

Dextrometorphan (DX), the active ingredient in your cough syrup is NOT an opiate. In fact it was launched as a substitute to the opioid cough suppressant codeine. Hence DX does not even require prescription.

However, structurally, DX is strikingly similar to the opiates and is actually the methylated dextro-isomer of the opioid analgesic levorphanol. But, so far no comprehensive study has proven that DX use can cause false positives on initially screening for opiates. And the possibility of it remining in the body after 2 weeks is remote.

Probably you had a false-positive test. It needs to confirmed with more sophisticated, precise, and accurate methods, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), or high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). These methods can definitively rule out any false positives.

Hope this helps. I will be available to answer further follow-up queries, if any.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have cold, cough, throat infection. Taken Robitussin DM. Does it have opiates? Employment drug test shows positive for opiates 11 minutes later
Everywhere on the internet Robitussin DM is listed as false positive medicine for opiates . E.g . is no other possibility of opiated having found in my body and this is also a fact that it was found in my bodt after two weeks that also in high quantity. If you could take alook.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 12 minutes later
I fully agree that you had a false-positive but it might not have been due to DX.

I meant to say that DX causing false-positive test for opiates is more of speculation because of chemical similarities rather than conclusive evidence. You can go through the following study WWW.WWWW.WW Here, even after six hours of ingestion nobody tested false-positive.

However, it cannot be ruled out completely.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have cold, cough, throat infection. Taken Robitussin DM. Does it have opiates? Employment drug test shows positive for opiates 17 minutes later
I went through the article you suggested. Here is my question.. What is the diggerenc between dxm and dxm hbr also%2C in the article looks like test was conducted using the capsules having dxm becuase it is referring %22mg%22 for quantity%2C in my case i tool he bottle of 237 ml that lasted a week so does this situation make any difference.. Single does vs repetitive dose %3F
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 9 minutes later
DXM hbr is just the salt form as used in medicine preps and should be the same as used in the study. The test used liquid formulation only and half the volunteers took double dose (40 mg=20 ml) still urine was negative. And the half-life in body is short so that finding it 2 weeks after the last dose seems a little improbable to me.
But as it is said in medicine, nothing is impossible and this can't be ruled out with certainty at this point.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have cold, cough, throat infection. Taken Robitussin DM. Does it have opiates? Employment drug test shows positive for opiates 1 hour later
Doctor%2C few more facts%2C after returning to india %2C still i was suffering from the cold%2C cough and throat infection.I visited doctors two times these days%2C one on April 25 his prescription is attached as well as written below-%0A%0A-Benz 100 mg%0A- Codistar DX syrup%0A%0AI took these medicines for like until the date of the drug test also%0ASecond time%2C I visited Mohinder Hospital%2C green park on 7th may. Prescription and medicines purchase receipt are attached for reference. This prescription is little distorted however%2C I believe medicines purchase list clearly describes the medicines.%0AI am writing these medicine here as well.%0A- A to Z syrup%0A- Pantop 40 mg%0A- TusQ D Syrup%0A- Augmention 625 mg%0A_ Calpol Tab and %0A- LCZ tab%0A%0A%0AApart from this%2C I took azithromycin -500 for throat infection without any prescription in this period. With continuity of Robitussin until April 16 and after above mentioned and attached prescriptions shows any signs of having opiates in my body. %0ALet me know if any other details are needed.%0A%0AThanks a ton for your help.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 4 hours later
None of the medicines you have listed contain any opiates. Some of them contain DX. Still I am unable to explain your false-positive result unless DX caused it.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions
Medical Procedures

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask an Oncologist

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor