Utility of sweat patch testing for drug use monitoring in outpatient treatment for opiate dependence

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2007 Dec;33(4):411-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2007.03.004. Epub 2007 May 23.


We evaluated the utility of sweat testing for monitoring of drug use in outpatient clinical settings and compared sweat toxicology with urine toxicology and self-reported drug use during a randomized clinical trial of the efficacy of buprenorphine for treatment of opioid dependence in primary care settings. All study participants (N = 63) were opiate-dependent, treatment-seeking volunteers. The results based on toxicology tests obtained from 188 properly worn and unadulterated patches (out of 536 applied) show that the level of agreement between positive sweat test results and positive urine results was 33% for opiates and 92% for cocaine. The findings of this study, that there is a low acceptability of sweat patch testing by patients (only 54.3% were brought back attached to the skin) and that weekly sweat testing is less sensitive than weekly urine testing in detecting opiate use, suggest limited utility of sweat patch testing in outpatient clinical settings.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Patch Tests / methods*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Sweat / chemistry*


  • Buprenorphine