Perspiration Drug Test Facts

Here are a few drug testing facts you should be aware of about the perspiration drug test.

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Perspiration Drug Test Facts

Here are a few drug testing facts you should be aware of about the perspiration drug test.


One of the newest methods to identify drug use is a perspiration drug test or sweat patch testing. The latest sweat patches can be worn for up to 2 weeks and are designed to detect drug use during the time the patch is worn. Although this method is most common within the criminal justice system and medical profession, employees who test postive to a drug test may be subjected to this type of test for ongoing compliance with a job-mandated recovery program.

How accurate are sweat patches?

Sweat patches seem to be better suited to detecting certain types of drugs than others. A study from 2007 indicates that urine tests are still a more accurate option as sweat patches only detected opiates 33% of the time and cocaine 92% of the time. The larger problem with sweat patches seems to be the discomfort of having to wear it continuously for 7-14 days.

What drugs can sweat patches detect?

Like blood tests, sweat patches actually absorb the drug itself and not just metabolites. For this reason, sweat patches can detect the same drugs commonly screened in blood or urine tests. They commonly include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD, and heroin. The biggest risk with sweat patches seems to be high false positives since these patches can collect environmental contaminants.

Can I beat a sweat patch?

Different manufacturers will have different methods of identifying whether a patch has been removed during the testing period. If you can remove the patch without getting caught, you might be able to beat the test, but this will probably be very difficult. Obviously the best option is to abstain from drugs during the testing period. It's also likely that the more you sweat, the more likely chemical residues will be absorbed by the patch, so you can try to minimize sweating during the testing period. Because the patch can pick up environmental contaminants, you should also physically stay away from drugs. Although patches are designed to prevent tampering or adulteration, you may be able to flush the patch with water or other fluids to dilute or eliminate the presence of chemical residues. Since these tests aren't very common, there's also a much lower chance you will have to worry about them.

If you fail a sweat patch test, you may still have to submit to a different kind of test. Even if you aren't asked to take a different kind of test, you might consider citing the high false positives associated with these sweat patches and demanding a re-test. You probably have a better chance of beating a urine drug test or even blood drug test, as the substance will likely have been cleared from your system by the time your patch is removed.

Is there a timeframe where the sweat patch doesn't detect drugs?

Since the patch is collecting sweat over a period of a few days to weeks, it doesn't help that your body can clear most drugs within 7 days. During that time it is likely that you will have sweated and that that sweat will have contained some drug residue absorbed by the patch. This is part of the selling feature of sweat patches. In fact, if you are even around others using drugs while wearing the sweat patch, it might pick up chemical residues.

Why aren't sweat patches more common?

Although sweat patches are marketed as being less invasive than a urine or blood drug test, the truth is that keeping a large bandaid stuck to your body for more than a couple days can get very uncomfortable. This is why many sweat patches get removed early and the wearer never returns. Also, sweat patches commonly retail for about $50. With the risk that the sweat patch never gets returned being high and the fact that a positive sweat patch test may still need to be confirmed by a different type of drug test, this type of testing doesn't make sense for a lot of situation.

These are just a few of the things you should know about sweat patches and how they work. Forewarned is forearmed, and the better you understand this type of test, the better chance you’ll have of passing it. Contact us to learn more!

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Founded in 1999, UrineTheClear® continues to be at the forefront of the drug-testing solutions industry with innovative products and procedures. We were the first on the market to dehydrate human urine, the first company to offer a 300% guarantee and continue to be the only company that utilizes GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) when testing our urine.