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Journal Article


Bjørk MK, Nielsen MKK, Markussen LO, Klinke HB, Linnet K. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2010; 396(7): 2393-2401.


Section of Forensic Chemistry, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederik V's Vej 11, 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark,


(Copyright © 2010, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






A high-performance liquid chromatography (LC)-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) method has been developed and validated for the determination of 19 drugs of abuse and metabolites and used in whole blood. The following compounds were included: amphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine, methylenedioxyethylamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, morphine, 6-acetylmorphine, codeine, methadone, buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine, ketobemidone, tramadol, O-desmethyltramadol, zaleplone, zolpidem, and zopiclone. The sample pretreatment consisted of solid-phase extraction using mixed-mode columns (Isolute Confirm HCX). Deuterated analogues were used as internal standards for all analytes, except for ketobemidone and O-desmethyltramadol. The analytes were separated by a methanol/ammonium formate gradient using high-performance LC (Agilent HPLC 1100) with a 3 mm x 100 mm Varian Pursuit 3 C(18) column, 3-microm particle size, and were quantified by MS/MS (Waters Quattro micro tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer) using multiple reaction monitoring in positive mode. Two transitions were used for all analytes, except for tramadol and O-desmethyltramadol. The run time of the method was 35 min including the equilibration time. For all analytes, responses were linear over the range investigated, with R (2) > 0.99. One-point calibration was found to be adequate by validation, thereby saving analysis of multiple calibrators. The limits of quantification (LOQs) for the analytes ranged from 0.0005 to 0.01 mg/kg. Absolute recoveries of the analytes were from 34 to 97%, except for zaleplone (6%). Both the interday precision and the intraday precision were less than 15% (20% at the LOQ) for all analytes, except buprenorphine, norburprenorphine, and zaleplone (less than 18%). Accuracy (bias) was within +/-15% (+/-20% at the LOQ) for all analytes, except MDMA and O-desmethyltramadol (within +/-19%). No ion suppression or enhancement was seen nor was suppression from coeluted analytes seen. Matrix effects were found to be less than 23% for all analytes, except zopiclone (64%). High-concentration and low-concentration quality control samples gave acceptable values, and the method has been tried in international proficiency test schemes with good results. The present LC-MS/MS method provides a simple, specific, and sensitive solution for the quantification of some of the most frequent drugs of abuse and their metabolites in whole blood. The quantification by LC-MS/MS was successfully applied to 412 forensic cases from October 2008 to mid February 2009, where 267 cases were related to zero-tolerance traffic legislation.

Language: en


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