Alcohol and illicit drug abuse are major public health problems worldwide. Since alcohol is the predominant substance of choice in polydrug abusers, monitoring its use, along with urinary drug screening in patients in rehabilitation programs, appeared to be crucial in identifying patients at risk of alcohol disorders leading to impaired quality of life. Ethyl β-D-6-glucuronide, a non-oxidative, non-volatile, stable and minor direct ethanol metabolite, has a 6h to 4 day window of detection in urine after the last alcohol intake. Each of the 119 subjects (85 males, 34 females) registered with the Public Health Service for Drug Dependence Treatment provided a urine sample for ethylglucoronide (EtG) determination in an immunochemical test with a 500 ng/ml cutoff. All results were evaluated with confirmation criteria of a fully validated gas chromatography/mass spectrometry assay. The diagnostic performance of the EtG immunochemical test was assessed using Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve analysis. The immunochemical test specificity was 100% for EtG urinary values above 500 ng/ml. No false positive results were found. With levels below 500 ng/ml, 12% of the samples were classified as negative. The average consumption of the incorrectly classified subjects was 171 ng/ml, with a misclassification error of 6.5% to 18.5%. High agreement between EtG as determined in an immunochemical test and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, suggests that the rapid EtG test is a reliable, cost-effective alcohol monitoring assay for patient management in many non-forensic settings, such as drug rehabilitation programs.
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- alcohol biomarkers
- ethyl glucoronide point of care test
- ethyl glucuronide
- gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry
- urine analysis