Does Indomethacin show up on a drug test? 

Does Indomethacin show up on a drug test? 

Indomethacin may or may not show up on a drug test. The incidence of a false positive on this medication is not that high, but Indomethacin is capable of causing a false positive for Marijuana and/or Amphetamines (1). 

Indomethacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – NSAIDs – which are non-narcotic painkillers. The entire class of NSAIDs is nothing like controlled substances, but some of them can still cause a false positive. 

This is more common with urine drug immunoassays which are not-so-accurate methods of drug testing and they often show false positives. 

However, if you’re going for modern and more accurate (and expensive) drug testing procedures, like Gas Chromatography – Mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), false positives on Indomethacin won’t be a problem (2). 

How long does Indomethacin stay in your system? 

Indomethacin has a half-life of about 5-10 hours, which is the time taken by this medication to reduce its concentration to half in your body (3). The remaining concentration keeps reducing every 5-10 hours until the entire drug is eliminated. 

Now, it usually takes 5-6 half-lives for a drug to completely go through the process of elimination, which means that the usual time taken by Indomethacin to leave your body is 1-3 days. 

How to avoid Indomethacin showing up on a drug test? 

You can avoid Indomethacin showing up on a drug test if you don’t take the medication during the last 24-48 hours before your test. This way your body will have enough time to eliminate the last Indomethacin you took. 

However, Indomethacin is a legal medication and there’s nothing wrong with taking that. If you’re taking this medication for a chronic condition, I don’t recommend stopping it. 

You can simply talk to your healthcare provider and can inform the drug testing authority that you are currently using Indomethacin – a medication capable of causing false positive results. Drug tests should be feared by lawbreakers and if you aren’t one, you shouldn’t worry about it. 

Just come clean with the prescription medications you’re taking. However, if your drug testing procedure is based on modern techniques, like GC-MS, false positives are not something that should worry you as these methods are pretty accurate and trustworthy.

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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 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:


Helleberg L. Clinical Pharmacokinetics of indomethacin. Clin Pharmacokinet. 1981 Jul-Aug;6(4):245-58. doi: 10.2165/00003088-198106040-00001. PMID: 7249487. Available from: