SAMHSA issues advisory about alcohol biomarkers
In September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment published an advisory concerning alcohol biomarkers (1). In addition to presenting current information on biomarkers that can indicate alcohol exposure or consumption, the advisory discusses the role of biomarkers in treatment and describes their advantages and limitations. It discusses well-known markers (liver enzymes and mean corpuscular volume), newer markers (carbohydrate-deficient transferrin and phosphatidyl ethanol), and controversial markers (ethyl glucuronide [EtG] and ethyl sulfate). When used in conjunction with patient interviews and screening tools, these measures can provide valuable information about a patient’s alcohol use.