The quantitative analysis of heroin, methadone and their metabolites and the simultaneous detection of cocaine, acetylcodeine and their metabolites in human plasma by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry.J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2005 Sep 25; 824(1-2):213-21.JC
For a pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic study in opioid tolerant patients, who were treated with heroin in combination with methadone, a liquid chromatographic assay with tandem mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS/MS) was developed for the simultaneous determination of heroin, methadone, heroin metabolites 6-monoacetylmorphine, morphine, and morphine-6 and 3-glucuronide and methadone metabolite EMDP. To detect any abuse of substances besides the prescribed opioids the assay was extended with the detection of cocaine, its metabolites benzoylecgonine and norcocaine and illicit heroin adulterants acetylcodeine and codeine. Heroin-d6, morphine-d3, morphine-3-glucuronide-d3 and methadone-d9 were used as internal standards. The sample pre-treatment consisted of solid phase extraction using mixed mode sorbent columns (MCX Oasis). Chromatographic separation was performed at 25 degrees C on a reversed phase Zorbax column with a gradient mobile phase consisting of ammonium formate (pH 4.0) and acetonitrile. The run time was 15 min. MS with relatively mild electrospray ionisation under atmospheric pressure was applied. The triple quadrupole MS was operating in the positive ion mode and multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) was used for drug quantification. The method was validated over a concentration range of 5-500 ng/mL for all analytes. The total recovery of heroin varied between 86 and 96% and of the heroin metabolites between 76 and 101%. Intra-assay and inter-assay accuracy and precision of all analytes were always within the designated limits (< or =20% at lower limit of quantification (LLQ) and < or =15% for other samples). This specific and sensitive assay was successfully applied in pharmacokinetic studies with medically prescribed heroin and toxicological cases.