5 Panel vs. 10 Panel Drug Test - Drugs, Detection Times & Results

5 Panel vs. 10 Panel Drug Test - Drugs, Detection Times & Results


Both 5-panel and 10-panel drug testing procedures indicate whether an individual has consumed multiple drugs or not.

Table Of Contents:

What is a 5-Panel Drug Test?

Every drug test comes in panels. As the name suggests, a 5 panel drug test kits screen for five classes of drugs. Opiates, THC, PCP, Cocaine, and Amphetamines are the chemicals assessed by this drug panel test. A 5 panel drug test is the standard test for screening employees in the USA. Nowadays, both government agencies and private sectors implement this urine drug test to assess whether an individual has been into drugs or a victim of drug abuse. When it comes to workplace drug tests, a 5 panel drug screen is used in the process. According to the Federal government's guidelines, all employees must undergo a 5 panel drug test.

It's not just confined to the workplace, but the US transportation department also implements it for some reasons or other. This test's primary objective in the transportation realm is to scrutinize whether a truck or a bus driver has consumed drugs at any point. Before giving him/her the vehicle license, the transport authority checks the test results while determining if they are suited for that particular role. Even after acquiring a license, the drivers are made to sit in this test once a year to confirm their dedication to the transport service system.

How is the test performed?

Initially, the patients are taken into a separate room, and they aren't allowed to carry any liquids or bottles. It ensures drug testers that no adulterant items are mixed with the urine willingly by the patient. It also helps them detect accurate results in absolute terms. After that, the patient is invited by a staff member to a specified urine sample collection area. A noteworthy aspect is that this area comprises several bathrooms with a blue dye in the toilet water. It further reduces the chances of dilution of the sample. After providing the urine sample to the experts, the patties are given the freedom to move elsewhere. From this point starts the actual work of experts. They check the temperature strip on the device to ensure the temperature registration is standard.

After that, with an immunoassay screen, the doctor identifies the pattern of drug use. This screen uses antibodies implanted on test strips to reveal evidence of drug consumption. If the test report is negative, it suggests that the patient hasn't been into drugs at any time. However, if it's positive, the below-mentioned three scenarios are a possibility:

  1. True positive: The test precisely detected the drug elements.
  2. False-positive: A rare flaw in the drug testing procedure primarily driven by false-positive results.
  3. True positive with medically acceptable documentation: When using certain substances, they are primarily identified but supported by acceptable explanations mainly on the medical ground.

Benefits of 5-Panel Drug Testing

Both the tester and the patient can be immensely benefited from a 5-panel drug test. The significant advantages of this drug testing type are listed below:

  1. Low cost: A 5-panel drug testing isn't a costly affair; instead, it's cheap and costs less than 3.5$.
  2. User-friendly: This drug testing procedure can be implemented on any individual.
  3. Instant results: A 5-panel drug test produces instant results in less than 10 minutes.
  4. Easily understandable: No training is needed to conduct this test. Anyone can administer and interpret the outcomes if he/she has a basic common sense.
  5. Identifies several drugs at a time: No doubt, it's a huge time saver for doctors as they can instantly detect the drugs a person has consumed.

What is a 10-Panel Drug Test?

It works similar to a 5-panel drug test, but the difference is that a 10 panel drug test kit can identify more drug elements than a 5-panel. It can detect up to 10 drugs, namely, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone, phencyclidine, and propoxyphene. A 10-panel drug test is also capable of testing illicit street drugs and sometimes alcohol.

Who are the major participants of this test?

Unlike a 5-panel drug test, a 10-panel drug test isn't a standard one. Though a 5-panel drug test is the most popular option, a 10-panel drug test gives more precise results. Medical practitioners, law professionals, and government employees under federal law are the primary participants in this regard.

What should you expect during the procedure?

A drug test can happen anywhere, at your home, workplace, or a medical clinic. A specified technician will be performing the test, and you need to follow his/her advice. More often, the precautionary measures a technician implements include the following:

  • Turning off the tap water
  • Putting blue dye into the toilet tank
  • Eliminating soap and other related substances
  • Measuring urine temperature

What drugs can it detect?

As the term highlights, a 10-panel drug test can detect ten different drugs, namely, MMJ, cocaine, benzos, and opioids. Let's discuss each of these briefly:

  1. MMJ: This drug testing type can detect MMJ and its resins quite precisely. More often, the resins come in the form of hashish and extract like THC oil, glass, and wax.
  2. Cocaine: It also detects cocaine and its percentage in other drugs.
  3. Opioids: The most common forms of opioids are smoked opium, codeine, 6-MAM, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone.
  4. Benzos: Benzon includes chemicals like diazepam, lorazepam, and alprazolam.
  5. Amphetamines: A 10-panel drug test can detect amphetamines in the form of methamphetamine, amphetamine sulfate, and medications related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  6. Barbiturates: The residues of all barbiturates are more or less similar. These residues may take the form of amobarbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, and secobarbital.
  7. Individual drugs: Besides the above, a 10-panel drug test can also identify individual drugs like methadone, phencyclidine, methaqualone, and propoxyphene. As these drugs have unique characteristics, they don't fit into the standard 5-panel drug test.

Detection Times

Detection time refers to the period a body takes to get rid of the drug residues. The detection times are different for various drugs. More importantly, these times vary with the drug type, the consumption amount, and the human body's metabolism. Let's take a look at the detection times of these drugs:

  1. Marihuana: 5-10 days
  2. Cocaine: 2-4 days
  3. Amphetamines: 48 hours
  4. Opioids: 48-72 hours
  5. Barbiturates: 1 day
  6. Benzodiazepines: 3-5 days
  7. PCP: 8 days
  8. Synthetic cannabinoids: More than 72 hours

What can you expect from your results?

A drug test result can be positive/negative/inconclusive. Let's dig deeper:

  1. A positive result indicates that multiple panel drugs are identified at a certain level.
  2. A negative result signifies that the panel drugs aren't identified at the cut-off concentration.
  3. An invalid result suggests the test wasn't good enough to detect the presence of panel drugs.

What happens if the result is positive?

Positive drug test outcomes aren't directly sent to the concerned person instantly. With chromatography-mass spectrometry, the sample is retested, and if there is a sign of confirmation, the medical practitioner should confront the patient.

What happens if the result is negative?

There are no hassles involved if the drug test is negative. The report will be sent to the employer, where he/she will scrutinize it for further action.

Areas of similarities and dissimilarities between a 5-panel and a 10-panel drug test

Both 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests have specific areas of similarities and dissimilarities. If the pattern of drug testing procedure is considered, there are striking similarities between the two. Both the processes are carried out coherently while taking into account the necessary precautions and practices. The elements detected in a 5-panel test are also the same in a 10-panel, but the difference is that the latter can test more substances besides the 5-panel ones. The benefits are also more or less the same in both the tests when conducted on medical practitioners, law professionals, and federal service officers. However, the benefits and outcomes vary according to test procedures and an individual's immune system. The aspect that gives a 10-panel drug test an added coating is its ability to identify the controlled substances often misused in the United States.

A 5-panel drug detects the following illicit substances:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine Metabolites
  • MMJ Metabolites(THC)
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine(PCP)

On the contrary, a 10-panel identifies the below-mentioned drug elements:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine Metabolites
  • MMJ Metabolites(THC)
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine(PCP)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Propoxyphene

Government agencies and private employers usually conduct a 5-panel drug test. More often, recruiters take this test upon employees to assess whether he/she has been into drugs at any time. Simultaneously, a 10-panel drug test is mainly applicable to federal employees, medical professionals, local government workers, and state employees. When it comes to detection times, the scenario varies with each substance, but the possibilities (positive, negative, or inconclusive) are the same in all instances.

We live in an age where there is money but no mental peace. The confused inner state of us often leads us to drugs. We consume it for the first time as a momentary pleasure but don't know when it becomes a habit. Instances are numerous when excessive drug consumption led to mood swings. If the same thing happens in the professional realm, it can be a shame for us. Also, a drug-addicted employee won't be able to remain focused for an extended period. Both 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests are essential as it helps the employer detect whether his/her employee has the required tenacity to do the task. Though a 5-panel test is considered to be the standard, it can't be denied that a 10-panel drug test is an advanced version.

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