Determination of nine new fentanyl analogues and metabolites in consumers' urine by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Jun; 25(12):4394-4399.ER
New fentanyl analogues have been constantly emerging into the illegal drug market as cheap substitutes of heroin posing a serious health threat for consumers because of their high toxicity. Analytical methods to disclose the presence of these compounds in biological fluids of intoxicated individuals need to be updated to keep up with the new trends. In this study, we updated an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method previously developed, for detecting some new fentanyl analogues and metabolites (sufentanil and norsufentanil, cis-3-methylnorfentanyl, trans-3-methylnorfentanyl, metabolites of cis and transmethylfentanyl, beta-phenylfentanyl, phenylfentanyl, para-fluoro furanyl fentanyl, isobutyryl fentanyl and ocfentanil) in urine sample.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Urine samples were simply diluted before injection in the chromatograph equipped with a reversed phase microcolumn. Detection was achieved with a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer with an electrospray ionization source in positive ion mode and operated in multiple reaction monitoring.
The chromatographic separation was short (5 min) and the method was fully validated with a high sensitivity being limits of quantifications from 0.003 to 0.006 µg/L urine for the analytes under investigation.
The suitability of the method was tested with urine specimens from former heroin addicts, which resulted positive by immunological screening to the class of fentanyl analogues. This method represents a valid tool to document recent exposure to the above-reported compounds for clinical and forensic purposes.