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In-Home Med Testing: Self Tests Available at your Local Pharmacy

May 03, 2017 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Compiled by Caley Breese

Staying healthy between physician visits is a hallmark of living well. While most of the time it is your physician who will recommend tests appropriate for your current health scenario, there are now a plethora of self tests available at your local pharmacy—some that provide results in as little as five minutes—for those times when you want to know more, sooner. Here’s a list of what’s out there, how they work, their FDA approval status, and what they test for.

HIV test

FDA approved • 92% accuracy for positive tests; 99% accuracy for negative tests • Can detect HIV-1 (most common) and HIV-2 (rare in the US) • Two popular brands: Oraquick ($40) and Home Access ($44) • Oraquick tests by gum swab; Home Access tests by blood sample • Oraquick will give results in 20-40 minutes; Home Access requires at least a week for results

UTI test

FDA approved • 95% accuracy • Urine sample • Results in 2 minutes • Various brands

Allergy test

FDA approved • 93% accuracy • Tests allergies for: timothy grass, Bermuda grass, cedar, ragweed, mold, egg, milk, wheat, cats, and house dust mite • Finger prick for a blood sample • Mail-in test; get results in approximately a week by email or snail mail • MyAllergyTest brand ($53)

Strep test

FDA cleared • 95% accuracy for strep A • Throat swab • Results in 5 minutes • Rapid Response brand ($40)

Cholesterol test

FDA approved (CardioChek brand); • FDA cleared (Cholestrak brand) • 97% accuracy • Finger prick for a blood sample • Results in approximately 15 minutes • Cholestrak brand is $25

Thyroid test

FDA cleared (ThyroChek brand) • Finger prick for a blood sample • ThyroChek brand results in 10 minutes; Home Health Testing • Thyroid test results are mailed in and received approximately 10 days later (results available online) • ThyroChek is $150; Home Health Testing Thyroid test is $31

Blood pressure test

FDA approved • Cuff goes over the arm and squeezes • 3 different readings over 10 minutes • Omron brand (#1 recommended by doctors and pharmacists), $83

Pregnancy test

FDA approved • Most tests are 99% accurate • Urine sample on a dipstick • Tests for high levels of the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) • Generally takes 2-3 minutes to obtain results • Various brands

Ovulation tests

FDA approved • Most tests are 99% accurate • Urine sample on a dipstick • Tests for Luteinizing Hormone (LH) • Generally takes up to 5 minutes for results • Various brands

Drug tests

FDA approved; FDA cleared (depending on brand) • Most tests claim to be 99% accurate • Urine samples; saliva samples; hair follicle samples • Multi-drug tests available • Results in approximately 5 minutes • Various brands

Fertility tests (male)

FDA cleared • Trak Male Fertility Testing System ($199.99) • Tests semen for sperm count • Claims it’s as “accurate as a lab test” • Results in minutes (no mail-in necessary)

Diabetes/Glucose tests

FDA cleared • Finger prick for blood sample; glucose device examines blood sample • Results in seconds (most brands claim) • Most devices usually connect to smart phone • Various brands

Stool blood test

FDA approved • EZ Detect brand ($7.99) • Detects bleeding ulcers, hemorrhoids, polyps, colitis, diverticulitis, fissures, or possibly colon cancer • User drops test pad into the toilet after he or she defecates, and the test pad will turn blue/green if blood is present • Results in about 2 minutes

Colon test

FDA approved • Cologuard brand—prescription from doctor needed • Tests for abnormal DNA and blood in stool for possible colon pre-cancer or cancer • Finds 92% of colon cancers • Collects single stool sample • Mail-in sample to laboratory goes to doctor within two weeks of receiving sample

*FDA cleared means: “These medical devices are ones that FDA has determined to be substantially equivalent to another legally marketed device.”

**FDA approved means: “Approved medical devices are those devices for which FDA has approved a premarket approval (PMA) application prior to marketing.”

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