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Poppy Seeds Cause False Positive Drug Test

Posting Date: 01/17/2005

Q. I go to the pain center at our local hospital and a few times a year we are given a urine test. Last week my urine test came out positive for morphine and since I don't take morphine, I was wondering what could cause this result. I eat a lemon poppy seed muffin and a cup of coffee for breakfast, a cheese sandwich for lunch with fruit and a normal dinner. I value my relationship with the pain center. I don't take illegal drugs!

A. Your poppy seed muffin is the most likely culprit. Sensitive drug tests can pick up traces of opium in the poppy seeds even though you can?t get high on a muffin or bagel. This can lead to a false-positive test for morphine or codeine for up to two days. To avoid problems on another test, you will need to change your breakfast pattern or explain your diet to the person in charge.

Q. My husband takes 5 mg of Lipitor per day, but our pharmacy sends him 45 10 mg tabs for a 90-day refill and he has to cut them in half. The tablets cut unevenly and with difficulty even with the special tablet cutter he bought. Is 10 mg the lowest dose?

A. The lowest dose of Lipitor is 10 mg. Insurance companies and HMOs have discovered that they can save money by asking patients to split some pills in half. That?s because the price is frequently about the same regardless of the dose, which tells you everything you need to know about the cost of the raw ingredients.

Some pill splitters are easier to use than others. Ask your pharmacist if he or she has a recommendation.

Q. I take Viagra or Levitra to have sex occasionally. I like grapefruit and usually buy a case when they come into season.

There is a warning about eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while on either of those medications. How long before or after using Viagra or Levitra is it safe to have grapefruit or grapefruit juice? I?d appreciate any information you have.