Usefulness of sweat testing for the detection of MDMA after a single-dose administration

J Anal Toxicol. 2003 Jul-Aug;27(5):294-303. doi: 10.1093/jat/27.5.294.


Nine healthy male subjects and recreational users of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) participated in a study aimed to assess the usefulness of sweat testing for the detection of MDMA after a single 100-mg dose. Sweat was collected for up to 24 h with the PharmChek sweat patches from which drugs were eluted and then analyzed by immunoassay and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using deuterated internal standards. The usefulness of a rapid onsite test, the Drugwipe immunochemical strip test, was also assessed. In the sweat patches, MDMA was detected as early as 1.5 h after consumption and peaked at 24 h. Intersubject variability was large; peak MDMA concentrations for the same dose varied in magnitude 30-fold. MDMA concentrations ranged between 3.2 and 1326.1 ng/patch. Only traces of the minor metabolite 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine were detected. In all subjects, the onsite test with the Drugwipe was positive at 1.5 h (peak time of MDMA plasma concentration). However, few false-negative results (18%) appeared in the first 6 h after administration. Both sweat patch testing and the onsite sweat strip test may find useful application for noninvasive monitoring of MDMA abuse in sweat.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine / analysis
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hallucinogens / analysis*
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / analogs & derivatives
  • Methamphetamine / chemistry
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / analysis*
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / pharmacokinetics
  • Reagent Strips
  • Substance Abuse Detection / instrumentation
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Sweat / chemistry*
  • Sweat / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Hallucinogens
  • Reagent Strips
  • 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine