Does Albuterol show up on a drug test? 

Does Albuterol show up on a drug test? 

No, Albuterol does not show up on a drug test and it’s something the standard drug testing procedures focus on. Albuterol is a Corticosteroid which is used as an inhaler for the symptomatic management of breathing disorders (1). 

This is not a controlled substance and it is not classified as a drug of abuse. This is why Albuterol is not included in the panel of drugs that are usually tested. 

However, in very few cases, it was observed that Albuterol may cause a false positive for Amphetamines (2). The incidence of this false positive is quite rare and it isn’t usually a problem. It could be possible when taking Albuterol orally or intravenously. However, Nasal administration of Albuterol can not cause a false positive. 

However, the accuracy of the testing procedure used can also make a difference because cheaper procedures may deliver inaccurate results, as compared to more sensitive and expensive testing procedures like Gas Chromatography – Mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) (3). 

How long does Albuterol stay in your system?

The effects of albuterol typically last for about 4 to 6 hours. However, the actual time it stays in your system can vary depending on various factors, such as your metabolism, liver function, and overall health.

The majority of albuterol is eliminated from the body within a few days. It is primarily excreted through urine, and a small amount may be present in stool. Generally, Albuterol has a half-life of about 2.7 to 5 hours, which is the time taken by the drug to reduce its concentration to half (4).

It typically takes five half-lives by a drug to get eliminated from your body, which indicates that Albuterol leaves your system in about 13.5-25 hours. However, it can take up to 48 hours for some people. 

It’s important to note that the duration of action and elimination of albuterol can vary among individuals. Additionally, frequent use or higher doses of albuterol may affect the time it takes for the medication to leave your system.

What to do to avoid getting a false positive on Albuterol?

It’s best to inform the drug testing authority about all the prescription and OTC medications you currently take before going for a drug test. A number of medications are known for affecting drug tests because of the cross-reactivity of the antibodies of the testing procedures. 

Furthermore, getting a false positive on Albuterol is quite rare and as stated earlier, the chances of getting a false result are even thinner when using Albuterol inhalers. As long as you are taking prescription medications and are not overdosing on any drug, a drug test is something to worry about. 

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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:


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:


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