Development of an analytical method for simultaneous detection of psychotropic phenylalkylamines in hair by LC-MS/MS with a multi-mode reversed-phase column using pH gradient elution.Forensic Sci Int. 2016 Feb; 259:69-76.FS
Phenylalkylamine derivatives, such as methamphetamine (MA), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), phentermine, fenfluramine, phendimetrazine, amfepramone, and ketamine, are widely abused recreational or anorectic drugs in Korea, and their abuse has become a serious social problem. Hair is a useful specimen to prove chronic use and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has recently become a more popular tool for hair analysis due to sensitivity and simplicity in sample preparation. In order to overcome limitations of standard reversed-phase column to separate low molecular weight amines, we adopted a multi-mode reversed-phase column, Scherzo SS-C18, which was composed of strong ionic ligands and C18 ligands, and used pH gradient elution to separate seven psychotropic phenylalkylamines and their metabolites. The essential validation parameters including selectivity, LOD, LLOQ, linearity, intra- and inter-assay precision and accuracy, recovery, and the matrix effect were satisfactory. The LODs ranged from 0.1ng/5mg hair (diethylnorephedrine, fenfluramine, ketamine, and MA) to 0.5ng/5mg hair (amfepramone, MDA, phendimetrazine, and phentermine). The LLOQs were 1ng/5mg hair for all analytes. The developed method was successfully applied to determination of phenylalkylamines in authentic hair samples analyzed previously by a routine gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method. A good correlation was observed between the two methods, with a slope near one.