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Advances in detecting alcohol abuse

Vol. 4, No. 8 / August 2005

The article on carbohydrate-deficient transferrin percentage testing (%CDT) by Drs. Peter Miller and Raymond Anton with Cynthia Dominick was informative and relevant (Out of the Pipeline, Current Psychiatry, June 2005).

The benefits and drawbacks of %CDT testing were mentioned, including factors that affect %CDT values. The %CDT test mentioned in the article—which used an exchange column separation followed by turbidimetric measurement—was the first %CDT test approved by the FDA a couple years ago. Early this year, a second %CDT test received FDA approval.

A recent article1 indicated that this new %CDT test, which quantifies CDT as a percentage of total transferrin using capillary electrophoresis, was reported to provide better precision of its assay, and had a inter-day variation of <3.% The lower the inter-day variation, the more precise the test. The new test also offers a visual pattern of test results for each applicant, which increases specificity.

According to the article, this new test is an automated “walk-away” system that requires little technician involvement. Thus, it can prevent increased labor costs.

Adegboyega Oyemade, MD
Chief resident, department of psychiatry
Albany Medical Center
Albany, NY

Minesh Patel, MD
Fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry,
New York Medical College
Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY


1. Bean P. New advances in CDT testing provide simultaneous detection and confirmation of alcohol abuse. On the Risk 2005;21:58-61.

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