A screening error has been identified at the provincial laboratory, but the risk to affected patients is low.
Samples for about 450 patients were affected. The samples were being screened for codeine and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) which, if used improperly, can be considered drugs of abuse. It is not believed that the error had any significant effect on patient care.
Codeine is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine used to relieve symptoms of allergies, hay fever and the common cold.
The issue affected test results from Oct. 30 to Nov. 28. The error was promptly corrected, and updated lab reports have been sent to all physicians who ordered the tests so they can follow up with patients as necessary.
“High-quality service and patient care is our priority, and we’re committed to making sure this does not happen again,” Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory Executive Director Patrick O’Byrne said.
The lab receives more than 75,000 patient samples for drugs of abuse testing annually.
This testing helps physicians identify patients struggling with addictions and provides a means of diagnostic treatment and support to patients in recovery.