Development and validation of a ultra high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric method for the direct detection of formoterol in human urine.
ABSTRACT Formoterol is a long acting β(2)-agonist and has proven to be a very effective bronchodilating agent. Hence it is frequently applied therapeutically for the treatment of asthma. Because β(2)-agonists might be misused in sports for the stimulatory effects and for growth-promoting action their use is restricted. Since January 2012, formoterol is prohibited in urinary concentrations higher than 30ng/mL. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a simple and robust ultra high performance liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric (UHPLC-MS/MS) method for the direct quantification of formoterol in urine. Sample preparation was limited to an enzymatic hydrolysis step after which 2μL was injected in the chromatographic system. Chromatography was performed on a C(8)-column using gradient conditions. The mobile phase consisted of water/methanol (H(2)O/MeOH) both containing 0.1% acetic acid (HOAc) and 1mM ammonium acetate (NH(4)OAc). Calibration curve were constructed between 15 and 60ng/mL. Validation data showed bias of 1.3% and imprecision of 5.4% at the threshold. Ion suppression/enhancement never exceeded 7%. Calculating measurement uncertainty showed proof of applicability of the method. Stability of formoterol was also investigated at 56°C (accelerated stability test) at pH 1.0/5.2/7.0 and 9.5. At the physiological pH values of 5.2 and 7.0, formoterol showed good stability. At pH 1.0 and 9.5 significant degradation was observed.