Direct and efficient liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric method for opiates in urine drug testing - importance of 6-acetylmorphine and reduction of analytes.Drug Test Anal. 2014 Apr; 6(4):317-24.DT
Opiates comprise a class of abused drugs that is of primary interest in clinical and forensic urine drug testing. Determination of heroin, codeine, or a multi-drug ingestion is complicated since both heroin and codeine can lead to urinary excretion of free and conjugated morphine. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) offers advantage over gas chromatography-mass spectrometry by simplifying sample preparation but increases the number of analytes. A method based on direct injection of five-fold diluted urine for confirmation of morphine, morphine-3-glucuronide, morphine-6-glucuronide, codeine, codeine-6-glucuronide and 6-acetylmorphine was validated using LC-MS/MS in positive electrospray mode monitoring two transitions using selected reaction monitoring. The method was applied for the analysis of 3155 unknown urine samples which were positive for opiates in immunochemical screening. A linear response was observed for all compounds in the calibration curves covering more than three orders of magnitude. Cut off was set to 2 ng/ml for 6-acetylmorphine and 150 ng/ml for the other analytes. 6-Acetylmorphine was found to be effective (sensitivity 82%) in detecting samples as heroin intake. Morphine-3-glucuronide and codeine-6-glucuronide was the predominant components of total morphine and codeine, 84% and 93%, respectively. The authors have validated a robust LC-MS/MS method for rapid qualitative and quantitative analysis of opiates in urine. 6-Acetylmorphine has been demonstrated as a sensitive and important parameter for a heroin intake. A possible interpretation strategy to conclude the source of detected analytes was proposed. The method might be further developed by reducing the number of analytes to morphine-3-glucuronide, codeine-6-glucuronide and 6-acetylmorphine without compromising test performance.