Evaluation of the Alcopatch, a transdermal dosimeter for monitoring alcohol consumption

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1995 Dec;19(6):1547-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1995.tb01022.x.


Background: The Alcopatch is an improved transdermal dosimeter for the measurement of alcohol consumption, by detection of ethanol in fluid excreted from the skin. The device is worn as a band around the ankle and provides a visual signal in the event of tampering.

Methods: Fourteen volunteers wore duplicate Alcopatches for a period of 7 or 8 days, while keeping a written record of their beverage alcohol consumption. Ethanol concentration in the Alcopatch was measured by gas chromatography and correlated with self-reported consumption.

Results: All alcohol consumption in excess of 0.25 g/kg/day resulted in measurable levels of ethanol in the Alcopatch. A positive correlation was observed between the reported consumption of ethanol (in g/kg/day) and the concentration of ethanol in the Alcopatch (square root, in mg/dl) (y = 0.91x + 0.28, r = 0.61) in 12 of 14 subjects.

Conclusions: The Alcopatch detected the consumption of beverage alcohol with high sensitivity and specificity over a period of 7 to 8 days and may be useful for the study of target populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Alcoholism / blood
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Chromatography
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Temperance


  • Ethanol