Author(s): Sauve EN, Langdegrd M, Ekeberg D, iestad AM
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Abstract A solid-supported liquid-liquid extraction ultra performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated for the determination of benzodiazepines commonly found in Norway, for use in cases with suspected driving impairment and autopsy cases by analysis of human whole blood samples. The following compounds were included: alprazolam, bromazepam, clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, nitrazepam, nordiazepam (metabolite of diazepam), oxazepam and phenazepam. Aliquots of 500 μL whole blood were added 500 μL of borate buffer pH 11 and extracted by solid-supported liquid-liquid extraction on ChemElut(®) columns using three times 2.5 mL of methyl tert-butyl ether. Deuterated analogues were used as internal standards (IS) for all analytes, except for midazolam, phenazepam and bromazepam which had no commercially available deuterated analogues at the time the method was developed, and therefore used diazepam-d(5), flunitrazepam-d(7) and nitrazepam-d(5), respectively. The analytes were separated using UPLC with a 2.1×100 mm BEH C(18)-column, 1.7 μm particle size, and quantified by MS/MS using multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) in positive mode. Two transitions were used for the analytes and one transition for the IS. The run time of the method was 8 min including equilibration time. The concentrations of the benzodiazepines in the method span a broad range varying from the lowest concentration of 0.005 μM for flunitrazepam to the highest of 20 μM for oxazepam. The calibration curves of extracted whole blood standards were fitted by second-order calibration curves weighted 1/x, with R(2) values ranging from 0.9981 to 0.9998. The intermediate precision had a CV (\%) ranging between 2 and 19\%. Recoveries of the analytes were from 71 to 96\%. The LLOQs for the analytes varied from 0.0006 to 0.075 μM and the LODs from 0.005 to 3.0 nM. Matrix effects were studied by post extraction addition and found to be between 95 and 104\% when calculated against an internal standard. A comparison with two other LC-MS methods was performed during method validation. Good correlation was seen for all analytes. The method has been running on a routine basis for several years, and has proven to be very robust and reliable with good results for external quality samples. The method also meets the requirements of the legislative limits for driving under the influence of non-alcohol drugs to be introduced in the Norwegian legislative system from 2012. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta