Broad Screening and Identification of Novel Psychoactive Substances in Plasma by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry and Post-run Library Matching.J Anal Toxicol. 2016 Sep; 40(7):519-28.JA
Drug abuse is today a growing global problem. Often the consumers are not aware about the type of substances they are using and the correlated risks. In recent years, new psychoactive substances (NPS) appeared in the illicit market. The presence of NPS, such as synthetic cathinones, cannabinoids and phenethylamines, which are known to be pharmacologically and toxicologically hazardous, has been frequently reported. The aim of this study was the development of a liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) method for a broad screening of NPS in plasma. Data acquisition was in MS/MS and full-scan modes and the method was validated for 25 NPS belonging to different chemical classes. Quantitative results have been obtained for these analytes with limits of quantification ranging from 0.03 to 0.4 ng/mL. The method was proven to be suitable for the screening of additional substances; to this aim, a post-run library matching was conducted for every sample with an in-house database containing over 300 NPS and known metabolites. The library may be constantly expanded with new drugs, in order to obtain a broad screening of NPS in biological matrices.