It’s hard to beat simple but thoroughly-tested drug test cups for accurate, almost instant drug test results. Before using one, though, it’s important to understand what they are, how to interpret results and what options are best-suited for different environments.

To help you make an informed decision, here is an overview of the most popular types of drug test cups, how they work and where to buy them. A Guide to Drug Test Cups:

Types of Drug Test Cups

What Is a 5 Panel Drug Test? A Guide to Drug Test Cups

The standard urine drug test 5 panel is the most common and versatile type of drug test. It’s used by employers during drug screens, government and law enforcement agencies and medical practices of all kinds.

5 panel drug tests commonly test for these drugs through a urine sample:

  • Amphetamine
  • Opiates and morphine including prescription pills and heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Phencyclidine, also called PCP

At Ovus Medical, our 5 panel urine drug test cups are CLIA-waived and FDA-approved making them ideal for workplaces, schools, addiction treatment facilities, labs and at home testing. In 5 minutes, they provide 99% accurate results. Our cups also adhere to SAMHSA cutoff levels for sensitive drug detection.


What If I Need To Test for More Than 5 Drugs?

6 to 18 panel drug test cups are as easy to read and use as a 5 panel test, but test for a wider range of drugs. Some test for fentanyl, alcohol, MDMA and other pervasive drugs. Keep in mind that cups with fentanyl tests are rated for forensic use only meaning they should only be used for law enforcement purposes.

Of that wide range of drug tests, the 12 panel drug test cup is perhaps the most ideal for addiction treatment facilities and employers that need a more comprehensive drug test than the 5 panel version. It tests for:

  • Amphetamines
  • Buprenorphine, a substance found in suboxone
  • Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam and diazepam
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Oxycodone
  • PCP

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What Do FDA-approved, CLIA-waived,  and SAMHSA Mean?


When a drug test is FDA-approved, it means it has gone through rigorous scientific and laboratory testing before being sold. The Food and Drug Administration also reviews drug tests’ instructions to ensure they are easy to use and understandable.


A Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) waiver means a drug screening kit carries a low risk of getting the wrong result and does not require any sort of medical professional to administer it. By definition, all CLIA-waived tests are also FDA-approved. For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control’s CLIA-waived test page.

SAMHSA Cutoff Levels

Understanding cutoff levels is key to understanding how urine drug test cups work. A drug test doesn’t just determine if a drug is in a urine sample or not. It only presents a positive result if a certain concentration of a drug is present. This protects people against false positives and sample contamination.

For instance, a marijuana drug test only presents a positive result if 50 nanograms of the drug or its metabolites (by-products of the body processing a drug) are present per milliliter of urine. On a drug test cup, this is represented as 50ng/mL.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) works with other government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services to determine these cutoff levels.

For more information on cutoff levels and other topics, check the Ovus Medical FAQ page.

OVUS MEDICAL drug tests

Using Drug Test Cups As a Urine Test Home Kit

Aside from being useful in commercial and medical settings, drug test cups are great as a quick screen at home drug test. Whether you’re using them as a self test drug kit or to help a loved one, they don’t require lab testing and may be used in the privacy of your own home.

No matter which type you choose, each kit comes with a urine cup and test strips — everything you need for a home urine test for drugs.

How To Read a Drug Test Cup

Despite the wide range of drug test cups available, they all display results in about the same way. A Guide to Drug Test Cups on how To read a drug test cup for results:

  • Collect a urine sample in the cup. Read results within 8 minutes of collection.
  • 5 minutes after collecting the sample, remove the peel-off label to expose the results
  • Look for the abbreviation of the drug you are testing. For instance, marijuana is abbreviated THC and opiates are abbreviated OPI. Keep this information handy.
  • Check the section labeled “C” for control. If a line appears here, it means the test is working properly. If no line appears here, discard the test and try another one even if a line appears in another section.
  • Check the section labeled “T” for test. A line in this section indicates that the drug was not found in the urine sample. Even a faint line may indicate a negative result. If there is no line, it indicates that the drug is most likely present in the sample.

If you’re sending the sample to a lab for a confirmation drug test, put the lid back on the cup and seal it with the included sticker, writing any relevant information on the side.


Where To Buy Drug Test Kits

Most types of drug test cups are available from online retailers or drug stores. However, if you need more than a few, buying them from those sources can get costly and you will need A Guide to Drug Test Cups.

At Ovus Medical, we’re committed to providing businesses, medical and addiction treatment communities and concerned individuals with quality drug test cups at wholesale prices. Browse our online store for discount drug test bundles and a wide range of drug test kits. For samples and other concerns, contact us today. questions about drug testing

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