Journal Article

Comparison of Urinary Excretion Characteristics of Ethanol and Ethyl Glucuronide

Helen Dahl, Nikolai Stephanson, Olof Beck and Anders Helander

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 26, issue 4, pages 201-204
Published in print May 2002 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online May 2002 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
Comparison of Urinary Excretion Characteristics of Ethanol and Ethyl Glucuronide

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This study compared the urinary excretion characteristics of ethyl glucuronide (EtG) with that of ethanol, with focus on the effect of water-induced diuresis. Six healthy volunteers ingested an ethanol dose of 0.5 g/kg (range 25.0–41.5 g) as 5% (v/v) beer in 30 rain and the same volume of water after 3 h. Urine collections were made before starting the experiment and at timed intervals over 31.5 h. The concentration of EtG was determined by an LC-MS method (LOQ = 0.1 mg/L). The urine samples collected immediately before starting drinking were all negative for ethanol and EtG, thus confirming that the participants had not recently ingested alcohol. Intake of beer resulted in a marked increase in excreted urine volume and a concomitant drop in creatinine concentration. The concentration of ethanol peaked at a mean value of 17 mmol/L in the 1.5-h urine collection. Except for one subject, EtG was first detectable (range 0.9–5.5 rag/L) at 1 h. Intake of water at 3 h produced another increase in urine volume and a drop in creatinine. The ethanol concentration curve was not influenced by the water diuresis, whereas this caused a distinct drop in the EtG concentration. When EtG was expressed relative to the creatinine value, this ratio was seemingly not affected by the intake of water. The ethanol concentration returned to zero at 6.5 h, whereas EtG was still detectable for up to 22.5–31.5 h, albeit at low levels in the end (< 1 mg/L). Only about 0.02% of the administered dose of ethanol (on a molar basis) was recovered in the urine as EtG. The results demonstrated that EtG remains detectable in the urine for many hours after the ethanol itself has been eliminated. Moreover, it was possible to lower the concentration of EtG by drinking large amounts of water prior to voiding, whereas this strategy did not influence the EtG/creatinine ratio or the concentration of ethanol.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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