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Institute of Psychiatry

Physician and Counselor Experiences with %CDT

The following testimonials are from healthcare professionals who use carbohydrate deficient transferrin (%CDT) extensively within the field of treating substance abuse. 

"I primarily utilize %CDT in outpatient settings to screen high risk medical patients for heavy alcohol use.  These include patient on opioid therapy for chronic pain, patients with chronic medical problems such as patients with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and patients with moderate to severe depression. "

Michael Francis Fleming, MD, MPH
Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Member of the National Academies of Science
Institute of Medicine

“I would say that I find %CDT testing incredibly helpful in my day to day work here in the clinic, for initial evaluations and the follow up care and management of our patients.  I can think of several cases in which it directly impacted on patient care and improved outcomes because we detected heavy alcohol use in a patient who denied drinking and whose other laboratory markers were all within normal limits.”

Jeffrey S. Cluver, MD
Director, Substance Abuse Treatment Clinic
Charleston VAMC
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Associate Director of Residency Training
Medical University of South Carolina

"I have found %CDT to be extremely helpful in identifying, motivating, and managing students who are heavy alcohol consumers.  It is a wonderful clinical management and feedback tool."

Darlene Shaw, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair for Education
Director, Counseling and Psychological Services
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Medical University of South Carolina

“As a psychiatrist working with alcoholics, I have learned that collecting a %CDT at baseline can be a great clinical tool several weeks, months or even years down the road.  Often times, patients are at their most vulnerable the first day they come in.  Their wife is about to leave, they have been disciplined at work, they feel they are at rock-bottom and they perhaps are more honest about their actual alcohol use than they have been before, or will be in the future. When they are endorsing drinking at hazardous levels, that is the time to get a baseline %CDT.  Now, no matter what happens, you have a tool.  For example, several months later, you suspect the patient may have relapsed and is not being altogether straightforward about it, you can use %CDT as an objective guide to show how alcohol use is again becoming problematic.  With this tool, you avoid finger-pointing and blaming that often comes from acting on a clinical "hunch" without objective evidence.”

Sarah W. Book, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs
Medical University of South Carolina

"As a psychiatrist specializing in addiction medicine, I have found %CDT to be extremely useful in monitoring the treatment progress of my alcohol dependent patients. I typically obtain a baseline measure at the beginning of treatment and then periodic tests give me an objective method of evaluating the drinking status of my patients. In addition, I have started to draw %CDT routinely with standard blood work, as this allows me the opportunity to explore problem drinking with individuals who do not yet see their drinking as problematic."

Tara Wright, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs
Medical University of South Carolina

“The %CDT is not only an excellent diagnostic tool to help confirm patient self reports of alcohol consumption, it is also a powerful treatment tool for motivating patients to make positive lifestyle changes and provide them with concrete feedback on their progress.”

Steven M. Swavely, Ph.D.
Coordinator, Outpatient Program
Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs
Medical University of South Carolina

"We often deal with students who are in some kind of academic or personal difficulties which they have not yet connected with their alcohol use.  They may not recognize their alcohol use is excessive or understand how it contributes to other life problems.  %CDT provides us with objective data to help identify and focus on this problem and begin addressing it directly.  It also lets us monitor changes in alcohol use."

Alice Q. Libet, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Counseling and Psychological Services
Medical University of South Carolina

“The %CDT test has been a valuable addition to the Adult Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) Practice Guideline order set for hospitalized patients. It is a means of identifying patients at risk for AWS who have suffered traumatic injury or a serious illness and cannot provide information about their alcohol use. The %CDT also provides useful data when treating patients who minimize the extent of their alcohol use. An elevated %CDT alerts staff of the need to monitor the patient for symptoms of AWS, and it provides information that is useful in counseling the patient.”

Karen Stanley, APRN, BC
Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Nurse
Performance Improvement Project Team Leader,
Adult Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Practice Guideline
Medical University of South Carolina

“In my work helping people manage their alcohol problems, %CDT is very helpful in addressing some of their ambivalence regarding the amount and frequency of their drinking. The use of %CDT promotes the idea of measuring drinks, so the discussion become more about standard drinks (pacing and spacing) rather than a vague recollection of drinking over a period of time. %CDT is a powerful tool for measuring a patient's success over time. With the % CDT I've been able to vouch for patients who were referred by employers as a condition for them to return to work and stay employed.”

Don Geddes M.Ed. LPC, LPCS
Clinical Assistant Professor
Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs
Medical University of South Carolina


Contact the CNL

Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory
67 President Street, PH144
Charleston, SC 29425
843-792-7371 (fax)