Sweat Collection With the Patch

The sweat patch is a complete kit comprising of the patch, isopropanol wipes to clean the skin before applying the patch, disposable gloves, tweezers to help eradicate the inner absorbent pad after use, a series of custody forms, and the device packaging material. Any trained personnel can apply the sweat patch. After cleaning the skin (on the upper arm or torso) with alcohol wipes that have been provided, the patch is carefully applied to the prescribed area. The cleansing is essential to remove any possible contaminants (drugs) residing on the skin surface, as well as to clean away oil on the face of the skin that can cause that patch to get adhesive to the skin. The patch wear period lasts a week long, or sometimes slightly longer than the routine. The patch can be applied during regular hygiene and while showering as well, however the donors applying sweat patch are required to refrain from rubbing it. The adhesiveness of the patch to the skin, the stratum corneum, breaks loose and the patch lifts away if it is worn longer than a week, as the adhesion has a useful life of maximum 2 weeks. If the inner absorbent pad gets exposed to the atmosphere when the adhesive membrane lifts away, then the outcome of the test is not guaranteed to be accurate due to a risk of external contamination from the surrounding. If incase such a thing happens, then the donors must at once report to the appropriate people in charge. While removing the patch, its integrity must be carefully observed by the collectors and any possible compromise in the series of custody forms must be reported. In order to prevent the detection of drug usage, the donors may try to take out the patch after it is applied and replace it before the time of removal by the collector. However, once removed, the re-adhesion is very less likely to occur, indicating the trained collector about the patch being removed by the donor himself. A distinct specimen identification number is printed on the outer membrane for the purpose of tracking the sample and for the sake of record keeping.

The donors with routine collections get their inner absorbent pad carefully removed by first peeling off the adhesive outer cover to remove the sweat patch from the skin, and then, using plastic tweezers that are provided with the patch, the absorbent pad is cautiously removed, avoiding any possibilities of contamination. The absorbent pad is then transported to the laboratory using the shipping bag. Scientific studies have proven that the metabolites and drugs in the absorbent pad remain consistent during the patch wear and at the time it is being transported for analysis to the laboratory.

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