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What is Sweat Patch Testing?

Sweat Patch testing is a successful and economical device for long-term and continuous drug testing in St. Petersburg, at Fastest Labs of St. Pete. It is designed to be a minimally invasive drug testing system that offers court-supported, dependable detection of the most common drugs of abuse. Sweat Patches are a comprehensive testing solution for adult and juvenile probation and parole, substance abuse courts, reentry/recovery programs, and workplaces. Someone will wear this patch all day, every day, for 7-14 days. If they use drugs within this timeframe, the patch will pick it up.

What Is The Sweat Patch?

The Sweat Patch utilizes an absorbent pad to capture insensible perspiration—the uncontrolled loss of sweat from the skin—in an absorbent pad. Approximately 300–700 mL of insensible sweat is excreted each day, and about 2mL is absorbed in the patch each week. The semi-permeable polyurethane film allows small molecules, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor to pass through the patch, leaving the skin underneath healthy and sterile.

When an individual uses drugs, the chemical components of the drugs enter the body and metabolize throughout. Some of the metabolites, as well as the parent drug in trace amounts, make it to the skin via sweat. The Sweat Patch sits on top of the skin, where the absorbent pad can collect sweat samples from the time of application until its removal and collection.

What Do Sweat Patches Detect?

The standard panel for the Sweat Patch detects eight different drugs of abuse. These are: Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, Cocaine, Codeine, Morphine, Heroin, Marijuana, and PCP. There is also an expanded panel that detects the most common synthetic opiates. These are: Fentanyl, Norfentanyl, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, Oxymorphone, and Oxycodone. Unlike many other drug testing methods, the Sweat Patch can capture both the parent drug and its metabolites. A Sweat Patch does not deliver chemicals or medications to its wearer but instead simply collects chemicals through the body’s natural sweat-release process.

Results cannot be used to determine the dose of drugs taken, determine the exact time of usage or determine if multiple small doses or one large dose of drug was ingested.

How the Sweat Patch is Applied and Removed

Before applying the Sweat Patch, the trained observer must clean the application area—typically the upper arm—with an alcohol wipe. The Sweat Patch is then applied by the trained observer. The absorbent pad is held in place with the adhesive polyurethane film. This tamper-evident membrane allows the Sweat Patch to be worn continuously for up to seven to fourteen days.

During the sample collection process, the wearer does not need to change any daily activities but must still treat the patch with care. The polyurethane overlay can be worn while the wearer showers, exercises, works, and sleeps. The wearer does not have to sacrifice daily routines to maintain an uncontaminated sample, minimizing the hassle that most drug tests require.

When the required collection period ends, the wearer returns to the collection center for removal. The trained observer at Fastest Labs of St. Pete examines the Sweat Patch for any damage or abnormalities, making note of any potential attempts to tamper with the membrane or pad.

The wearer begins peeling the membrane away from the skin, starting at the corner. The observer then removes the pad, examining it and the membrane for any signs of damage, including puncture marks, cuts, or tears in the Sweat Patch’s components. Using the tweezers, the trained observer then places the pad in a sample bag, closing the bag with a security seal. The sample is mailed to an exclusive testing laboratory. The chain of custody has met several court requirements for adequate documentation, so test results are reliable.

Sweat Patch Test vs. Urine Drug Test

Conventional urinalysis provides only a few days of detection. The Sweat Patch offers up to 7 to 14 days of continuous sample collection. With a Sweat Patch, you get a more comprehensive picture of drug use patterns with your clients to support recovery and accountability.

Sweat Patches are a proven and economical alternative to urinalysis and provides distinct advantages:

  • Detects the drug metabolite and parent drug—The lab deploys a reporting requirement that the parent drug in each instance (Methamphetamine or Cocaine) must be at or above the cutoff level of 10 ng/mL, and the respective metabolites (amphetamine or BE) must also be present at the LOQ, (Limit of Quantitation) at 2.0 ng/ml or higher. When these two reporting criteria are met it proves ingestion rather than environmental contamination.
  • Difficult to dilute, substitute, or adulterate without detection
  • Tamper-evident
  • Gender indifferent
  • Provides an extended window of detection (beginning 24-48 hours prior to its application and throughout the wear-time of the patch)
  • Testing with the Sweat Patch maintains privacy and does not require invasive sample collections. No observation of sample collection is necessary, and sample collection is fast and unobtrusive

Better Accuracy

Courts have relied on Sweat Patches as proof of its reliability. Fastest Labs of St. Pete works with a SAMHSA Certified lab, so quality control for specimen screening and confirmation testing is incredibly strict.

Less Expensive Than Urine 5 panel Tests, and More Time Effective

Although a single patch may cost more than a single 5-panel urine lab test, the Sweat Patch provides a less expensive testing method when multiple urine tests would be required. The same level of detection via urine tests may take as many as four to five urine tests per week, tipping the cost scales in favor of the single Sweat Patch for up to 7 to 10 days of detection.

Not only does the Sweat Patch require fewer appointments, leading to greater drug testing compliance, but application and removal take less than 10 minutes.


The polyurethane membrane that covers the collection patch provides a tamper-evident protective layer. And with trained observers at Fastest Labs of St. Pete, for application and removal, the signs of an attempted removal or substitution are obvious. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to substitute a valid sample with a donor sample without clear evidence of deception.

But even more important, typical methods to alter test results are not effective with the sweat collection method of Sweat Patches. Diluting the sample with excessive water consumption does not work, and the parent drug and metabolites cannot be covered up by consuming other foods or drinks.

Excellent For Motivational Enhancement Therapy

As a basis for both reward and sanction, the Sweat Patch offers a strong indicator of continued sobriety. In court rulings that require parole terms, parental rights, or recovery mandates, the Sweat Patch can stand as a positive reinforcement for motivational enhancement therapy and contingency management.

Likewise, with its longer sampling period, the Sweat Patch offers a better view into use patterns over time in order to revise treatment and recovery plans for substance use concerns, as well as offering a more dependable data point for court sanctions when necessary.

Fastest Labs of St. Pete Is Your Trusted Partner for Sweat Patch Testing

Located in St. Petersburg, FL, Fastest Labs of St. Pete has multiple options for your drug testing needs. Our certified collectors can perform Sweat Patch Testing quickly and efficiently.