Fast Five Quiz: Alcohol Use and Abuse

Stephen Soreff, MD


January 03, 2019

EtG is a minor, nonoxidative, water-soluble, stable, and direct metabolite of alcohol that is formed by the conjugation of ethanol with activated glucuronic acid. Shortly after alcohol intake, even in small amounts, EtG becomes positive. After complete cessation of alcohol intake, EtG can be detected in urine for up to 5 days after heavy binge drinking, making EtG an important biomarker of recent alcohol consumption.

CDT is less sensitive/specific in women than in men. Gamma-glutamyltransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and mean corpuscular volume are the most frequently used indirect biomarkers.

The short half-life of alcohol limits its use widely as a biomarker. Because the blood alcohol level detects alcohol intake in the previous few hours, it is not necessarily a good indicator of chronic excessive drinking.

For more on alcohol biomarkers, read here.


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