Screening of synthetic PDE-5 inhibitors and their analogues as adulterants: analytical techniques and challenges.J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2014 Jan; 87:176-90.JP
The popularity of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) enzyme inhibitors for the treatment of erectile dysfunction has led to the increase in prevalence of illicit sexual performance enhancement products. PDE-5 inhibitors, namely sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil, and their unapproved designer analogues are being increasingly used as adulterants in the herbal products and health supplements marketed for sexual performance enhancement. To date, more than 50 unapproved analogues of prescription PDE-5 inhibitors were found as adulterants in the literature. To avoid detection of such adulteration by standard screening protocols, the perpetrators of such illegal products are investing time and resources to synthesize exotic analogues and devise novel means for adulteration. A comprehensive review of conventional and advance analytical techniques to detect and characterize the adulterants is presented. The rapid identification and structural elucidation of unknown analogues as adulterants is greatly enhanced by the wide myriad of analytical techniques employed, including high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography mass-spectrometry (LC-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, liquid chromatography-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance-mass spectrometry (LC-FT-ICR-MS), liquid chromatograph-hybrid triple quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometer with information dependent acquisition, ultra high performance liquid chromatography-time of flight-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-TOF-MS), ion mobility spectroscopy (IMS) and immunoassay methods. The many challenges in detecting and characterizing such adulterants, and the need for concerted effort to curb adulteration in order to safe guard public safety and interest are discussed.