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J Anal Toxicol. 2014 Mar;38(2):92-8. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkt122. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Estimation of equivalent cutoff thresholds in blood and oral fluid for drug prevalence studies.

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1Division of Forensic Medicine and Drug Abuse Research, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404 Nydalen, 0403 Oslo, Norway.


Oral fluid is an easily available specimen for studying drug use in a cohort or population. The prevalence of drugs in samples of oral fluid is the same as the prevalence in blood if using equivalent cutoff concentrations. The cutoffs in oral fluid may be higher or lower than that in blood in accordance with the median oral fluid-to-blood (OF/B) concentration ratio, but it is also influenced by the skewness of the distribution of OF/B ratios. The aim of this study was to determine formulae for the estimation of equivalent cutoff concentrations in oral fluid and blood for 12 commonly used illegal and medicinal psychoactive drugs when oral fluid was collected with Statsure Saliva·Sampler™. Paired samples from 4,080 persons were collected and analyzed with chromatographic methods and mass spectroscopic detection. Regression formulae for the concentrations corresponding to selected percentiles in oral fluid versus the same concentration percentiles in blood were determined. The accuracy when multiplying the cutoff thresholds in blood with the average and median OF/B ratios to estimate equivalent cutoffs in oral fluid was also investigated. Prevalence regression gave the most accurate results. The regression formulae can be used to estimate equivalent cutoff concentrations in oral fluid and blood.

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