By Nicholas Borgert

 Bio-Rad Laboratories has expanded its TOX/See™ Rapid Urine Drug Screen platform with new capabilities to detect tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) and Ecstasy (MDMA).

The new tests have been added to a TOX/See test menu that already screens for nine other drug categories, including amphetamines, methamphetamines, opiates, cocaine, PCP, THC, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and methadone.

Now available for sampling from Bio-Rad, the TOX/See rapid urine drug screen is a single-step, handheld device for point-of-care use. It detects the presence of drugs or drug metabolites in human urine. The TCA and MDMA are available as either a customized panel or in individualized test form.

According to most recent estimates, as many as seven million people worldwide can be classified as Ecstasy abusers and the drug is attracting substantially more users each year.

An Increase in Toxicology Testing
Bio-Rad develops and markets diagnostic and life science research products in more than 100 countries. Toxicology is just one part of Bio-Rad’s diagnostics business. The publicly traded company, founded 50 years ago, also sells products for autoimmune testing, diabetes monitoring, hemoglobin screening, quality control, and virology, as well as tests for infectious diseases.

Toxicology testing has represented a substantial part of Bio-Rad’s business since the mid-1980s. The Hercules, California-based multinational manufacturer and distributor has built a customer base in research and industry segments that has reached more than 70,000. Bio-Rad serves its varied market segments via a network encompassing more than 30 wholly owned subsidiaries.

According to Sibel Sari Phillips, senior product manager for Bio-Rad’s Clinical Diagnostics Group, TOX/See offers a number of advantages compared to other rapid drug screenings for POC. “First, it provides results for nine of the most commonly abused drugs in as few as 3 minutes while requiring a very small urine sample, as little as three drops. It is a fast, easy, and accurate test from an experienced company,” Phillips says.

Also, the TOX/See test can tell the difference between amphetamine (AMP), methamphetamine (MET), and Ecstasy abuse in minutes, paving the way to faster and better patient treatment options. Most other rapid drug tests are unable to differentiate between AMP, MET, and Ecstasy in the patient sample, Phillips says.

In addition, the TOX/See MDMA test is notable for its high degree of specificity. Specific to the drug antibody, the test detects all three forms of Ecstasy: MDMA, MDA, and MDEA. And, unlike most competitive tests, the TOX/See MDMA test does not have any cross-reactivity with AMP or MET.

To make the test more convenient to use, Phillips says, every TOX/See test is packaged with a disposable pipette. The TOX/See test requires no reagents or reagent beads. Bio-Rad has developed the TOX/See panel so it can be customized to differing applications. The TOX/See test menu consists of 11 drugs in 14 different test configurations. This menu flexibility enables laboratories to order the drug combination they need instead of ones they don’t, which ultimately saves a lab time and money, says Phillips.

The FDA-cleared TOX/See cassette was first introduced in 2000. It is designed for fast, accurate point-of-care screening. The expanded test menu, according to the lab, is designed for broad applications. These include hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies, work environments, and drug rehabilitation centers.

Test cassettes are individually packaged and can be stored at room temperature for as long as 18 months. The device provides integrated test controls and results are easy to read. Also, technicians can photocopy a completed TOX/See test card for archiving as part of legal or health care agency record-keeping.

Bio-Rad also reports growing demand for its Remedi drug profiling system. Featuring liquid chromatography and a scanning UV spectrum, the Remedi platform is geared to complete automation of drug identification. It documents identified drugs and turns out results in about 20 minutes.

According to Bio-Rad, the identification of therapeutic and illicit drugs in urine is increasingly in demand in a full range of settings, including hospital emergency departments, pre-employment testing, and probable cause cases.

For additional information, contact Sibel Sari Phillips, Senior Product Manager, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA ; (501) 741-6642; [email protected]