[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method for the determination of ethyl myristate, ethyl palmitate, ethyl oleate, and ethyl stearate in hair samples was developed, validated and applied to real samples. Ethyl myristate, ethyl palmitate, ethyl oleate, and ethyl stearate are fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) which are known to be direct biotransformation products of ethanol. Their presence in the body fluids and tissue is therefore indicative of alcohol intake and, in particular, FAEE concentration in hair higher than 0.5 ng/mg is indicative of excessive chronic alcohol consumption. The method was applied to 80 hair samples formerly found positive for cocaine and FAEE analytical results were compared with the presence of cocaethylene, a cocaine metabolite formed only when alcohol and cocaine are used together. According to our data the two biomarkers (FAEE and cocaethylene in hair) are tools of great value in the assessment of the diagnosis of use of cocaine and ethanol. In fact, discrepancies were noted and might be related to various factors including differences in consumption habits and thus permitting to distinguish the use of both substances non-concurrently or concurrently. Also, the determination of both markers may, in some cases, discriminate the use of moderate or heavy alcohol amounts when associated with cocaine. Finally, in a population of non-cocaine-users our results support FAEE as valuable means in the assessment of excessive alcohol chronic use.
Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis 04/2011; 54(5):1192-5. DOI:10.1016/j.jpba.2010.11.032 · 2.98 Impact Factor