Can Ranitidine cause a positive drug test? 

Can Ranitidine cause a positive drug test? 

Ranitidine can cause a false positive for Amphetamines in a drug test. Although the medication is not structurally related to Amphetamines and is a commonly used acid reducer, it can show up in a drug test (1). 

This mishap is more common with cheaper drug testing procedures like urine immunoassay and is not reported with highly sensitive and accurate testing procedures like Gas Chromatography – Mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). 

In standard panel drug tests, Ranitidine can show up as an Amphetamine at doses of 150-300 mg, which are common therapeutic doses of this medication (2). 

This indicates that not just Ranitidine misuse, but normal therapeutic use of Ranitidine can show up on a drug test. However, it’s still not certain whether or not it’ll show up at all, but it should always be considered a possibility. 

How long does Ranitidine stay in your system? 

Ranitidine has a short half-life of about 2.5-3 hours, which is the time taken by this medication to reduce to half of its concentration. The remaining concentration keeps reducing to half after every 2-3 hours until the entire drug is eliminated from your system. 

The entire process can take up to 24 hours, depending on factors specific to the individual taking the med – like age, weight, dosage strength, frequency, any underlying health condition, and overall health status. 

How to avoid a false positive caused by Ranitidine? 

There are two ways to avoid a false-positive for Amphetamines while being on Ranitidine. 

  • Using a more sensitive and accurate testing procedure – like Gas Chromatography – Mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) 
  • Take the last dose of Ranitidine a day or two before the drug test. 

It is common for urine immunoassays – the most common drug testing procedures – to cause false positive results. If you want to avoid that, you can go for more accurate testing procedures like GC-MS (3). 

However, such procedures are quite expensive and not everyone can afford that – but these tests identify the specific chemical in your body at the time of sample collection. 

If that’s not an option for you or the organization that’s conducting your test, another way to avoid a false positive is to not take Ranitidine a day or two before your testing date. 

This way you’ll give your body enough time to eliminate the last dose of this medication. There is no other method that can help guarantee drug testing accuracy. 

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Alyson Schwebach, Jennifer Ball. Urine Drug Screening: Minimizing False Positives and False Negatives to Optimize Patient Care. US Pharm. 2013;38(12):1-6. Available at:


Poklis A, Hall KV, Still J, Binder SR. Ranitidine interference with the monoclonal EMIT d.a.u. amphetamine/methamphetamine immunoassay. J Anal Toxicol. 1991 Mar-Apr;15(2):101-3. doi: 10.1093/jat/15.2.101. PMID: 2051743. Available from:


Ramoo B, Funke M, Frazee C, Garg U. Comprehensive Urine Drug Screen by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1383:125-31. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3252-8_15. PMID: 26660182. Available from: