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Fast and Highly Selective LC-MS/MS Screening for THC and 16 Other Abused Drugs and Metabolites in Human Hair to Monitor Patients for Drug Abuse

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Fast and Highly Selective LC-MS/MS Screening for THC and 16 Other Abused Drugs and Metabolites in Human Hair to Monitor Patients for Drug Abuse

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To facilitate the monitoring of drug abuse by patients, a method was developed and validated for the analysis of amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine, methylenedioxyethylamphetamine, methylphenidate, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, morphine, codeine, heroin, 6-monoacteylmorphine, methadone, 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), nicotine, and cotinine in human hair. The hair preparation method contains a 3-step wash procedure with dichloromethane followed by a simultaneous hair pulverization and extraction procedure with disposable metal balls. The developed liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method uses a single injection to detect and confirm all 17 abused drugs, including THC, within 4.8 minutes. Nicotine was validated with a linear range of 800-25,000 pg/mg hair, and all other substances were validated with a linear range of 30.0-2500 pg/mg hair. For inaccuracy and imprecision, the overall bias did not exceed -8.2% and the overall coefficient of variation did not exceed 17.7%. Autosampler stability was proven for 48 hours at 10°C for all substances. Analytical cutoff concentrations were defined for each substance at the lowest validated inaccuracy and imprecision concentration with a bias and coefficient of variation within 15% and qualifier/quantifier ratios within 20% of the set ratio. The analytical cutoff concentrations were 200 pg/mg for codeine and 80.0 pg/mg for 6-MAM, heroin, EDDP, and THC. The analytical cutoff concentration for nicotine was 800 pg/mg and for all other validated substances 30.0 pg/mg. This method was successfully applied to analyze hair samples from patients who were monitored for drug abuse. Hair samples of 47 subjects (segmented into 129 samples) showed 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, methylphenidate, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, codeine, methadone, EDDP, THC, nicotine, and cotinine above the analytical cutoff. The method was fully validated, including the validation of the qualifier/quantifier ratios. The analysis of real hair samples proved the efficacy of the developed method for monitoring drug abuse. The results obtained by this method provide the physician or health-care professional with extensive information about actual drug abuse or relapse and can be used for patient-specific therapy.
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Fast and Highly Selective LC-MS/MS Screening for THC and
16 Other Abused Drugs and Metabolites in Human Hair to
Monitor Patients for Drug Abuse
Remco A. Koster, BSc,* Jan-Willem C. Alffenaar, PhD, PharmD,* Ben Greijdanus, BSc,*
Joanneke E. L. VanDerNagel, MD,†‡ and Donald R. A. Uges, PhD, PharmD*
Background: To facilitate the monitoring of drug abuse by patients,
a method was developed and validated for the analysis of amphetamine,
methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, methyle-
nedioxyamphetamine, methylenedioxyethylamphetamine, methyl-
phenidate, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, morphine, codeine, heroin,
6-monoacteylmorphine, methadone, 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-
3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC), nicotine, and cotinine in human hair.
Methods: The hair preparation method contains a 3-step wash
procedure with dichloromethane followed by a simultaneous hair
pulverization and extraction procedure with disposable metal balls.
The developed liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry
method uses a single injection to detect and conrm all 17 abused
drugs, including THC, within 4.8 minutes.
Results: Nicotine was validated with a l inear range of 800
25,000 pg/mg hair, and all other substances were validated with
a linear range of 30.02500 pg/mg hair. For inaccuracy and impreci-
sion, the overall bias did not exceed 28.2% and the overall coefcient
of variation did not exceed 17.7%. Autosampler stability was proven
for 48 hours at 108C for all substances. Analytical cutoff concentra-
tions were dened for each substance at the lowest validated
inaccuracy and imprecision concentration with a bias and coefcient
of variation within 15% and qualier/quantier ratios within 20% of
the set ratio. The analytical cutoff concentrations were 200 pg/mg for
codeine and 80.0 pg/mg for 6-MAM, heroin, EDDP, and THC. The
analytical cutoff concentration for nicotine was 800 pg/mg and for all
other validated substances 30.0 pg/mg. This method was successfully
applied to analyze hair samples from patients who were monitored for
drug abuse. Hair samples of 47 subjects (segmented into 129 samples)
showed 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, methylphenidate,
cocaine, benzoylecgonine, codeine, methadone, EDDP, THC, nico-
tine, and cotinine above the analytical cutoff.
Conclusions: The method was fully validated, including the
validation of the qualier/quantier ratios. The analysis of real hair
samples proved the efcacy of the developed method for monitoring
drug abuse. The results obtained by this method provide the physician
or health-care professional with extensive information about actual
drug abuse or relapse and can be used for patient-specic therapy.
Key Words: hair, drugs of abuse, LC-MS/MS, qualier/quantier
ratios
(Ther Drug Monit 2013;0:110)
INTRODUCTION
Examining hu man biological matrices for the presence
of drugs is an important task of forensic and clinical
toxicological laboratories. These analyses are mostly per-
formed for urine and blood and can provide information about
drug use over a period of days. Information about use over
longer periods of time can be provided by analyzing hair
samples, as those drugs are incorporated into the hair during
its growth. Because hair grows approximately 1 cm each
month, segm ental analys is may distinguish single exposure
from long-term exposure.
14
Not only hair analysis can pro-
vide information about use over longer periods of time but
also its sample collection is preferable because it is less inva-
sive than obtaining venous blood samples and less embarrass-
ing and time consuming than supervised urine collection.
The mechanisms for drug incor poration into hair are
still under investigation, and vario us mechanisms are
described. Drugs are diffused from the blood capillaries into
the growing hair cells and are incorporated into the completed
hair shaft by sebum, sweat, and the surrounding tissues. It is
also possi ble that drugs are deposited on hair from the
external environment. Incorporation of drugs into hair is
dependent on 3 key factors, namely, basicity and lipophilicity
of the substance and melanin content of the hair. This results
in low incorporation rate of acidic substances into the hair.
For example, 11-nor-Δ
9
-tetrahydrocannabinol-11-carboxylic
acid, the metabolite of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
and ritalinic acid, the metabolite of methylphenidate, are
only found in hair in extremely low concentrations.
1
The
Received for publication April 1, 2012; accepted July 3, 2013.
From the *Laboratory for Clinica l and Forensic Toxicology and Drugs Analysis,
Department of Hospital and Clinical Pharmacy, University of Groningen,
University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands; SumID-Project,
Zorgontwikkeling, Tactus Addiction Medicine, Deventer, The Netherlands;
and ACSW-Nijmegen Institute for Scientist-Practitioners in Addiction,
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations
appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions
of this article on the journals Web site (www.drug-monitoring.com).
The authors declare no funding or conict of interest.
Correspondence: Remco A. Koster, BSc, Laboratory for Clinical and
Forensic Toxicology and Drugs Analysis, Department of Hospital and
Clinical Pharmacy, University of Groningen, University Medical Center
Groningen University of Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Gronin-
gen, The Netherlands (e-mail: r.koster@umcg.nl).
Copyright © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Ther Drug Monit
Volume 0, Number 0, Month 2013 1
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incorporation rate of drugs into hair can vary between sub-
jects and makes hair analysis unsuitable for quantitative ther-
apeutic drug monitoring. On the other hand, hair analysis is
useful for monitoring patient compliance by detecting the
presence or absence of drugs in the hair.
13
To prepare a hair sample for analysis, a wash procedure
is applied followed by extraction of the substances. To improve
analytical performance, residues from cosmetics, sweat, and
sebum should be removed by washing the hair sample. A wash
procedure also helps avoid false-positive results by removing
possible passive external contamination of drugs from the
environment. Some methods described in the literature use no
wash procedure at all, whereas other methods use labor-
intensive wash procedures.
1,5,6
However, neither of these wash
procedures were able to provide enough distinction between
hair contamination with drugs and active drug use.
7,8
Dichloro-
methane (DCM) is considered to be a suitable wash solvent
because it does not swell the hair, in contrast to aqueous sol-
vents or methanol, and therefore, no relevant extraction will
take place during the wash procedure.
6
There are multiple ways to extract drugs from hair.
Previously described methods use soaking in extraction
solvent, sonication with methanol, dissolving under alkaline
or acidic conditions, or using enzymes to treat the hair
samples.
915
Dissolving hair under alkaline or acidic conditions
is a good way to increase the interaction surface, although these
conditions can cause the formation of metabolites from the
parent substances. It is known, for example, that benzoylecgo-
nine can be formed from cocaine under alkaline conditions.
6
Extraction by soaking or using enzymes is also very time
consuming.
5,10,1517
To overcome these problems, a ball mill
was used to pulverize the hair sample and increase the inter-
action surface of the hair and the extraction solvent. This
method creates a more homogeneous sample, is fast, and does
not induce any chemical instability in the substances.
Gas chromatogr aphymass spectrometry (GC-MS) is
a well-established technique for the determination of abused
drugs and is widely used for hair analysis. GC-MS also
requires an extensive sample preparation like solid-phase
extraction and liquidliquid extraction and often derivatiza-
tion of the analyzed substances.
1,8,18
For a sensitive LC-MS/
MS technique, there may be no need for extens ive sample
preparation and derivatization, whereas a high selectivity is
accomplished through the selection of an ionized molecule
and usually the most intense fragment. To obtain a higher
level of selectivity, a second fragment can be monitored
simultaneously. The rst fragment (quantier) will be used
to calculate concent rations, whereas the second fragment
(qualier) will be used for conrmation of the detected sub-
stance using a qualier/quantier ratio.
There are several parameters that have to be taken into
account for a hair sample to be considered positive. The last
wash should be analyzed to monitor possible external
contamination. The identity of the substance should be
conrmed by determining the ratio of the qualier/quantier
mass transitions. When possible, use of a drug should be
conrmed through the presence of its metabolites. The
concentration of an identied drug should exceed a cutoff
concentration. Cutoff concentrations for the presence of
a number of abuses in hair are provided by the Society of
Hair Testing (SoHT) and the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration.
19,20
According to the world drug report of the United Nations
Ofce on Drugs and Crime, the most widely used drugs are
cannabis, amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine. The nonmedical
use of prescription drugs like methylphenidate or methadone is
also recognized as a growing problem. Consumption of
a combination of drugs has also become more common.
21
The aim of this study was to develop and validate
a hair preparation and analysis method for most widely
abused drugs and their metabolites to monitor patients with
a high risk of drug abuse. The following substances were
included in the m ethod: amphetamine, methamphetamine,
3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methylene-
dioxyamphetamine (MDA), methylenedioxyethylamphetamine
(MDEA), methylphenidate, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, mor-
phine, codeine, heroin, 6-monoacteylmorphine (6-MAM),
methadone, 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
(EDDP), THC, nicotine, and cotinine.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Chemicals and Reagents
Separate reference solutions containing amphetamine,
methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, MDEA, methylphenidate,
cocaine, benzoylecgonine, morphine, codeine, heroin, 6-MAM,
methadone, EDDP, THC, nicotine, and cotinine of 1.0 mg/mL
in methanol were used. Cotinine was purchased from Cerilliant
(Round Rock, TX). All other drugs were purchased from
Lipomed (Arlesheim, Switzerland). Deuterated internal stand-
ards (IS) were used for all drugs. Lipomed reference solutions
were used for 6-MAM-D
3
, benzoylecgonine-D
3
,cocaine-D
3
,
codeine-D
3
,EDDP-D
3
, heroin-D
3
,MDA-D
5
, MDEA-D
5
,
MDMA-D
3
,methadone-D
3
, methamphetamine-D
5
,morphine-
D
3
,andTHC-D
3
. Cerilliant reference solutions were used for
cotinine-D
3
,methylphenidate-D
9
,nicotine-D
4
, and amphet-
amine-D
10
. Analytical grade methanol, 25% ammonia, and
DCM were purchased from Merck (Darmstadt, Germany).
Puried water was prepared by a Milli-Q Integral System
(Millipore, Billerica, MA). Ammonium formate was purchased
from Acros (Geel, Belgium).
Equipment and Conditions
Polypropylene containers of 5 mL with screw caps
(Kartell; Noviglio, Italy) were used to weigh the hair in and to
perform the wash procedure and extraction. A mixer mill
(Retsch MM400, Haan, Germany) was used to wash, pulver-
ize, and extract the hair samples. Disposable 2-mm diameter
stainless steel balls (Retsch; Haan, Germany) were used to
pulverize the hair samples. Vortexing was performed with
a multi-tube vortexer (Labtek, Christchurch, New Zealand).
Mini-Uniprep syringeless lter vials with regenerated cellulose
media 0.2 mm pore size (Whatman, Kent, United Kingdom),
were used to lter the suspension after extraction.
All experiments were performed on an Agilent 6460A
(Santa Clara, CA) triple quadrupole LC-MS/MS system, with
an Agilent 1200 series combined LC system. The Agilent
Koster et al Ther Drug Monit
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2 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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6460A mass-selective detector operated in heated electrospray-
positive ionization mode and performed dynamic multiple
reaction monitoring with unit mass resolution. High-purity
nitrogen was used for both the source and collision gas ows.
In the rst quadrupole, single charged ions [M + H]
+
were
selected. All precursor ions, product ions, optimum fragmentor
voltage, collision energy values, and retention times are shown
in Table 1. The most intense daughter ion in the product spec-
trum was chosen as quantier, and a second daughter ion was
chosen as qualier. For methylphenidate, however, the frag-
mentation of the ionized molecule only resulted in one daugh-
ter ion in the mass spectrum. This has led to the use of only one
mass transition (quantier) for methylphenidate. Peak height
ratios of the substance and its IS were used to calculate con-
centrations. For all substances, the capillary voltage was set at
4000 V, gas temperature at 3208C, gas ow at 13 L/min,
nebulizer gas at 60 psi, sheath gas temperature at 4008C, sheath
gas ow at 12 L/min, and the nozzle voltage at 0 V. The
Agilent 1200 series autosampler was set at 108C, and the inte-
grated column oven was set at a temperature of 408C. The
mobile phase consisted of methanol and 20 mmol/L ammo-
nium formate buffer, pH 7.0, containing 5% vol/vol methanol.
Analyses were performed on a 50 · 2.1-mm 5-mm HyPURITY
Aquastar analytical column from ThermoFisher Scientic
(Waltham, MA) equipped with a separate 0.5-mmfritlter
(Varian, Palo Alto, CA). Chromatographic separation was per-
formed by means of a gradient with a ow of 0.5 mL/min and
a run time of 4.8 minutes. The gradient starts at 100%
20 mmol/L ammonium formate buffer, pH 7.0, with 5% vol/
vol methanol and increases in 3 minutes to 100% methanol,
a percentage to be maintained between 3 and 3.9 minutes. At
3.91 minutes, the gradient returns to 100% 20 mmol/L
TABLE 1. Mass Spectrometer Settings and Retention Times for All Substances
Substance
Precursor
Ion (m/z)
Product Ion
Quantier (m/z)
Product Ion
Qualier (m/z)
Fragmentor
Voltage (V)
CE
Quantier
(V)
CE
Qualier
(V)
Retention
Time (min)
Amphetamine 136.3 91.2 119.2 70 8 3 2.3
Amphetamine-D
10
146.2 98.2 NA 70 8 NA 2.3
Methamphetamine 150.2 91.1 119.2 80 12 5 2.7
Methamphetamine-D
5
155.3 91.1 NA 80 12 NA 2.7
MDMA 194.2 105.2 133.2 80 23 15 2.5
MDMA-D
3
197.3 105.1 NA 80 23 NA 2.5
MDA 180.2 105.2 133.2 70 20 15 2.2
MDA-D
5
185.3 110.2 NA 70 20 NA 2.2
MDEA 208.2 105.2 133.2 95 25 18 2.5
MDEA-D
5
213.4 105.1 NA 95 25 NA 2.5
Methylphenidate 234.2 84.2 90 16 NA 2.8
Methylphenidate-D
9
243.4 93.2 NA 90 16 NA 2.8
Cocaine 304.2 182.2 150.2 130 15 23 2.9
Cocaine-D
3
307.3 185.2 NA 130 15 NA 2.9
Benzoylecgonine 290.2 168.2 105.1 120 15 30 2.3
Benzoylecgonine-D
3
293.2 171.2 NA 120 15 NA 2.3
Morphine 286.2 165.2 153.2 160 45 50 2.3
Morphine-D
3
289.3 165.2 NA 160 45 NA 2.3
Codeine 300.2 165.2 153.1 155 45 50 2.8
Codeine-D
3
303.3 165.2 NA 155 45 NA 2.8
6-MAM 328.2 165.3 211.2 120 45 20 2.6
6-MAM-D
3
331.2 165.2 NA 120 45 NA 2.6
Heroin 370.2 165.2 268.2 170 55 25 2.9
Heroin-D
3
373.4 165 NA 170 55 NA 2.9
Methadone 310.3 265.2 105.1 110 10 25 3.3
Methadone-D
3
313.3 268.2 NA 110 10 NA 3.3
EDDP 278.3 234.2 186.2 160 30 35 3.1
EDDP-D
3
281.3 234.2 NA 160 30 NA 3.1
Nicotine 163.2 130.1 106.2 100 16 10 2.9
Nicotine-D
4
167.3 134.1 NA 100 16 NA 2.9
Cotinine 177.2 80.2 98.1 140 20 14 2.1
Cotinine-D
3
180.2 80.2 NA 140 20 NA 2.1
THC 315.3 193.3 259.3 130 20 18 3.6
THC-D
3
318.4 196.3 NA 130 20 NA 3.6
CE, collision energy; NA, not applicable.
Ther Drug Monit
Volume 0, Number 0, Month 2013 LC-MS/MS Screening to Monitor Drug Abused Patients
2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
3
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ammonium formate buffer, pH 7.0, with 5% methanol and
stabilizes until 4.8 minutes to prepare the chromatographic
system for the next injection. Agilent Masshunter software
for quantitative analysis (version B.04.00) was used to quantify
the analysis results.
Sample Preparation
Reference solutions of 1.0 mg/mL for each substance
were used to prepare 2 stock solutions in methanol containing
50 mg/L nicotine and 5 mg/L of all other substances. One set
of reference solution was used to prepare the stock solution
used for the calibration curve, and a separate set was used to
prepare the stock solution for the quality control samples. A
combined stock solution of 5 mg/L was also prepared for all
the deuterated IS. This combined IS stock solution was spiked
to the extraction solvent at 25 mcg/L, which consists of
analytical grade methanol. For the hair preparation, a lock of
hair was placed on a piece of clean paper. The paper was
folded around the hair sample, and markings were made to
distinguish the hair root and the tip of the hair. Every
centimeter of hair length was marked on the paper. An empty
5-mL container was tared at the analytical balance, and 1 cm
of the hair sample (50 mg) and paper were cut with a pair of
scissors above the container. The paper was removed from the
hair sample with a pair of tweezers in such a way that the hair
fell through the folded paper into the container without the
sample being touched by the tweezers or hands. When
necessary, another centimeter of the hair sample was cut to
achieve approximately 50 mg. Length and weight of the
sampled hair were noted. The hair sample was washed 3 times
with 3 mL DCM in a mixer mill at 30 Hz for 10 minutes. The
last wash was collected in a glass tube and evaporated to
dryness at ambient temperature under a nitrogen gas ow.
The residue of the last wash was reconstituted in 1.5 mL
extraction solvent by vortexing for 2 minutes. After complet-
ing the 3 wash steps, the hair samples were left for 15 minutes
to evaporate the residual DCM from the containers. Fifty
stainless steel balls and 1.5 mL extraction solvent were added,
and the samples were mixed at 30 Hz for 30 minutes until all
the hair was pulverized. After 30 minutes, the suspension was
transferred into a clean tube and centrifuged at 1780g. Of the
supernatant or the reconstituted last wash, 200 mL was trans-
ferred into a Whatman lter vial and 5 m L of the ltered
supernatant was injected into the LC-MS/MS system. Length
and weight of the hair samples were noted, and the concen-
trations were recalculated to agree with a 50-mg sample, as
used for the calibration curve, with the following formula:
concentration resulted from analysis
weighed amount of hair
· 50.
Influence on Ion Suppression of Hair
Pulverization Followed by Extraction,
Compared With Simultaneous Hair
Pulverization and Extraction
To investigate the inuence of ion suppression, 3
blank hair samples were prepared according to the described
extraction procedure. The hair pulverization was also
performed w ith 3 other identical blank hair samples. For
these hair samples, 1.5 mL extraction sol ution cont aining
25 mcg/L of the deuterated IS was added after pulverization
by metal balls, and the samples were shaken for 30 minutes.
All extracts and neat extraction solvent were spiked with
20,000 pg/mg hair for nicotine and 2000 pg/mg f or all
other substances. Peak heights were compared to assess
ion suppression of the 2 different hair preparations.
The i nuence of ion suppression was calculated as
follows, where 100% represents no ion suppression:
Mean peak height of spiked extracts
Mean peak height of s piked neat solution
· 10 0.
Method Validation
The performed validation included linearity, inaccuracy,
imprecision, selectivity, specicity, and stability. Extracts of
blank hair from one volunteer were collected for spiking the
calibration and validation samples. Using this extract, an
8-point calibration curve was spiked for all substances.
Nicotine was spiked at 800, 1500, 2500, 5000, 10,000,
20,000, and 25,000 pg/mg hair. The calibration curves for all
other substances were spiked at 30.0, 80.0, 150, 250, 500,
1000, 2000, and 2500 pg/mg hair. The inaccuracy and
imprecision were tested at the lower limit of quantication
(LLOQ) and at low, medium, and high concentrations. For the
assessment of inaccuracy and imprecision, concentrations were
800, 2000, 5000, and 20,000 pg/mg hair for nicotine and 30.0,
80.0, 200, and 2000 pg/mg for all other drugs. Validation was
performed with a maximum tolerated bias and coefcient of
variation (CV) of 20% at the LLOQ and 15% at all other
validation concentrations, including the stability validation. To
determine inaccuracy and imprecision, all concentrations were
measured 5-fold in 3 separate runs on separate days. For each
inaccuracy and imprecision, assessment bias and CV were
calculated per run. Within-run, between-run, and overall CVs
were calculated u sing 1-way analysis of variance. Eigh t
calibration points were used to determine linearity on
3 separate days. Stabilities of the substances were assessed in
the autosampler at 108C at low and high levels after 48 hours.
Selectivity and specicity were assessed by analyzing 6 blank
hair samples from different persons. Peaks found in the blank
hair samples should not exceed 20% of the peak height at
LLOQ level. During the method validation, the ion ratios for
the qualier and the quantier were evaluated at the LLOQ low
and medium levels of the inaccuracy and imprecision study. All
ratios of the qualier and the quantier found during the inac-
curacy and imprecision validation were required to be within
20% of the ratio set in each validation run. Analytical cutoff
concentrations were dened for each substance at the lowest
concentration validated for inaccuracy and imprecision with the
bias and CV within 15% and all qualier/quantier ratios within
20% of the set ratio during the whole validation. Carryover was
monitored during validation, where the peak height of the rst
blank after the highest calibrator should not exceed 20% of the
LLOQ. Performing a true recovery assessment with a hair
matrix is analytically impossible because drugs need to fully
incorporate into the hair. Bathing the hair in a drug-containing
solution would provide no quantiable recovery. To provide
information about the consistency of the recovery with a real
hair sample, the imprecision of the developed method was
Koster et al Ther Drug Monit
Volume 0, Number 0, Month 2013
4 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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further determined by the analysis of ve 50-mg hair samples
obtained from a homogeneous positive hair sample for THC.
The hair sample resulted from a general haircut and consisted of
short pieces with a maximum length of 0.5 cm.
Routine Analysis
For purposes of routine analysis, hair samples were
collected from pati ents with a mil d or borderline intellectual
disability. These patients were under institutional care for
their disability. The hair analysis was used to validate
a questionnaire for drug abuse in this target group.
22,23
All
patients (and, if applicable, their guardians) gave informed
consent to participate in the study, which was approved by
a certied medical ethical comm ittee.
The collected hair samples were taken from the
posterior vertex and varied from short pieces of cut hair to
hair strings with a maximum length of 37 cm. When possible,
the hair strings were segmented to reach 50 mg per sample.
The results were corrected for the weighed amount of hair per
sample. For patient monitoring, the validated analytical cutoff
concentrations were used to determine d rug abuse instead of
those proposed by the SoHT or Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration.
RESULTS
Influence on Ion Suppression of Hair
Pulverization Followed by Extraction,
Compared With Simultaneous Hair
Pulverization and Extraction
Table 2 shows the inuence of ion suppression for hair
pulverization followed by extraction and simultaneous hair
pulverization and extra ction for all substances and their deu-
terated IS. For hair pulverization followed by extraction, the
remaining peak heights caused by ion suppression ranged
from 41% to 78% with a mean of 57% (611.1) for all sub-
stances and 41% to 74% with a mean of 55% (610.6) for all
deuterated IS. For simultaneous hair pulverization and extrac-
tion, the remaining pea k heights caused by ion suppression
ranged from 45% to 95% for all substances with a mean of
78% (6 13.1). The remaining peak heights for the deuterated
IS ranged from 41% to 89% with a mean of 73% (613.5).
Almost all substances and their deuterated IS were equally
affected by ion suppression. Deviations of less than 10%
between each substance and its deuterated IS were observ ed
for both extractions. Simultaneous hair pulverization and
extraction showed a larger difference of 17% less ion sup-
pression for morphine compared with morphine-D
3
. Com-
pared with hair pulverization followed by extraction,
simultaneous pulverization and extraction showed, respec-
tively, 21% and 18% less average ion suppression for all
substances and their deuterated IS and contributed to an ef-
cient hair extraction procedure.
Method Validation
Table 3 shows the validation results for linearity, inac-
curacy, imprecision, and stability. Nicotine was validated at
a linear range of 80025,000 pg/mg. All other substances were
validated at a linear range of 30.02500 pg/mg hair. For inac-
curacy and imprecision, the highest overall bias found during
the validation was 28.2% at the LLOQ of heroin (30.0 pg/mg),
whereas the highest overall CV was 17.7% at the LLOQ of
THC (30.0 pg/mg). Autosampler stability was proven for 48
hours at 108C for all substances with a maximum overall bias of
4.8%. Selectivity and specicity showed no interfering peaks of
more than 20% of the LLOQ. In each validation run, the ion
ratio of the qualier and quantier was determined for each
substance. The analytical cutoff concentrations were dened
as the lowest concentrations with the bias and CV within
15% and the qualier/quantier ratios within 20% of the mean
ion ratio found during validation. Mean ion ratios and their
maximum deviations found during the validation are shown
in Table 4. It can be seen that 6-MAM, heroin, EDDP, THC,
TABLE 2. Influence on Ion Suppression of Hair Pulverization
Followed by Extraction, Compared With Simultaneous Hair
Pulverization and Extraction, Where 100% Represents No Ion
Suppression
Substance
Ion Suppression
Pulverization With
Methanol (%)
Ion Suppression
Pulverization Without
Methanol (%)
Amphetamine 82 46
Amphetamine-D
10
86 48
Methamphetamine 82 57
Methamphetamine-D
5
81 57
MDA 77 42
MDA-D
5
75 40
MDEA 85 62
MDEA-D
5
83 60
MDMA 85 62
MDMA-D
3
80 60
Methylphenidate 87 70
Methylphenidate-D
9
84 70
Cocaine 91 78
Cocaine-D
3
88 74
Benzoylecgonine 94 73
Benzoylecgonine-D
3
85 65
Morphine 78 44
Morphine-D
3
61 41
Codeine 64 55
Codeine-D
3
58 51
6-MAM 76 49
6-MAM-D
3
67 47
Heroin 72 59
Heroin-D
3
70 58
Methadone 54 51
Methadone-D
3
55 51
EDDP 81 71
EDDP-D
3
80 70
Nicotine 69 50
Nicotine-D
4
61 44
Cotinine 95 65
Cotinine-D
3
89 61
THC 45 41
THC-D
3
41 41
Ther Drug Monit
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TABLE 3. Validation Results of All Substances
Substance
Correlation Coefcient
(Linear Range) (pg/mg)
Concentration
(pg/mg)
Within Run CV
(%)
Between Run CV
(%)
Overall CV
(%)
Overall Bias
(%)
Amphetamine 0.99837 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 7.9 0.0 7.9 27.0
Low (80.0) 4.9 4.7 6.7 22.2
Medium (200) 3.6 2.6 4.5 3.5
High (2000) 4.8 2.8 5.6 2.3
AS stab low 48 h 2.4 NA NA 4.8
AS stab high 48 h 3.6 NA NA 0.8
Methamphetamine 0.99885 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 2.6 5.7 6.3 0.0
Low (80.0) 1.6 0.7 1.8 24.3
Medium (200) 1.8 1.6 2.4 22.5
High (2000) 1.2 2.3 2.6 23.3
AS stab low 48 h 0.9 NA NA 20.6
AS stab high 48 h 1.3 NA NA 21.1
MDMA 0.99843 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 4.4 1.8 4.7 3.2
Low (80.0) 3.9 2.3 4.5 23.4
Medium (200) 2.3 2.7 3.6 20.8
High (2000) 0.9 3.7 3.8 20.4
AS stab low 48 h 2.5 NA NA 0.5
AS stab high 48 h 1.5 NA NA 1.1
MDA 0.99868 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 2.8 7.5 8.0 5.9
Low (80.0) 2.1 3.5 4.1 23.4
Medium (200) 2.4 1.1 2.7 22.1
High (2000) 1.5 4.8 5.0 21.2
AS stab low 48 h 1.2 NA NA 20.8
AS stab high 48 h 0.9 NA NA 0.2
MDEA 0.99481 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 4.7 5.7 7.4 4.1
Low (80.0) 3.5 1.1 3.7 20.3
Medium (200) 1.7 1.4 2.2 0.6
High (2000) 1.1 2.2 2.5 20.8
AS stab low 48 h 1.5 NA NA 0.3
AS stab high 48 h 1.0 NA NA 20.2
Methylphenidate 0.99911 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 2.8 7.8 8.3 1.1
Low (80.0) 2.6 0.0 2.6 23.1
Medium (200) 1.9 1.2 2.2 22.7
High (2000) 2.7 5.1 5.8 24.3
AS stab low 48 h 3.0 NA NA 21.9
AS stab high 48 h 1.8 NA NA 23.5
Cocaine 0.99812 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 4.7 1.8 5.1 4.3
Low (80.0) 2.0 0.0 2.0 22.8
Medium (200) 1.5 4.0 4.3 22.3
High (2000) 1.0 3.4 3.5 23.7
AS stab low 48 h 0.8 NA NA 22.0
AS stab high 48 h 0.9 NA NA 21.9
Benzoylecgonine 0.99807 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 2.6 3.9 4.7 4.8
Low (80.0) 1.4 0.0 1.4 21.9
Medium (200) 1.0 1.7 2.0 20.9
High (2000) 0.6 3.3 3.4 21.6
AS stab low 48 h 1.1 NA NA 0.4
AS stab high 48 h 0.7 NA NA 0.3
Morphine 0.99875 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 5.1 5.0 7.1 21.0
Low (80.0) 4.6 1.0 4.7 26.2
Medium (200) 2.5 2.0 3.2 23.0
High (2000) 2.4 1.3 2.7 20.4
AS stab low 48 h 2.8 NA NA 22.3
AS stab high 48 h 1.3 NA NA 1.9
Koster et al Ther Drug Monit
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TABLE 3. (Continued) Validation Results of All Substances
Substance
Correlation Coefcient
(Linear Range) (pg/mg)
Concentration
(pg/mg)
Within Run CV
(%)
Between Run CV
(%)
Overall CV
(%)
Overall Bias
(%)
Codeine 0.99843 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 7.6 10.9 13.3 23.2
Low (80.0) 5.9 2.1 6.2 22.7
Medium (200) 4.5 3.7 5.9 1.1
High (2000) 2.8 1.2 3.1 0.7
AS stab low 48 h 4.1 NA NA 1.2
AS stab high 48 h 1.9 NA NA 0.8
6-MAM 0.99813 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 8.6 1.4 8.7 22.3
Low (80.0) 2.9 2.0 3.5 25.0
Medium (200) 3.2 2.6 4.1 22.3
High (2000) 1.5 2.4 2.8 20.9
AS stab low 48 h 2.5 NA NA 24.2
AS stab high 48 h 1.7 NA NA 20.1
Heroin 0.99867 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 8.3 0.0 8.3 28.2
Low (80.0) 7.2 3.1 7.9 24.7
Medium (200) 4.2 1.4 4.4 24.1
High (2000) 1.6 1.1 2.0 21.4
AS stab low 48 h 4.0 NA NA 24.8
AS stab high 48 h 1.6 NA NA 20.8
Methadone 0.99851 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 1.3 5.4 5.5 2.5
Low (80.0) 1.9 0.6 2.0 22.6
Medium (200) 0.8 3.0 3.1 21.3
High (2000) 1.0 3.7 3.9 21.8
AS stab low 48 h 1.1 NA NA 20.5
AS stab high 48 h 0.8 NA NA 0.6
EDDP 0.99842 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 3.9 0.0 3.9 0.4
Low (80.0) 2.1 0.9 2.3 26.3
Medium (500) 1.4 1.6 2.2 22.3
High (2000) 0.6 2.4 2.4 21.2
AS stab low 48 h 1.2 NA NA 21.3
AS stab high 48 h 0.5 NA NA 0.5
Nicotine 0.99605 (80025,000) LLOQ (800) 8.3 2.1 8.6
22.2
Low (2000) 4.2 0.0 4.2 22.5
Medium (5000) 3.8 4.0 5.5 20.5
High (20,000) 2.6 3.0 4.0 1.3
AS stab low 48 h 3.5 NA NA 22.9
AS stab high 48 h 3.5 NA NA 1.5
Cotinine 0.99847 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 9.0 10.9 14.1 24.3
Low (80.0) 3.5 2.6 4.3 23.2
Medium (200) 2.3 1.6 2.8 21.7
High (2000) 2.0 2.8 3.5 22.8
AS stab low 48 h 1.0 NA NA 20.1
AS stab high 48 h 1.4 NA NA 20.3
THC 0.99423 (302500) LLOQ (30.0) 12.3 12.8 17.7 21.2
Low (80.0) 9.7 0.0 9.7 0.8
Medium (200) 3.7 0.0 3.7 21.3
High (2000) 1.8 3.2 3.7 0.5
AS stab low 48 h 4.1 NA NA 22.1
AS stab high 48 h 1.3 NA NA 4.8
LLOQ, low, medium, and high are the validation concentrations used for inaccuracy and imprecision assessment; AS stab low/high 48 hours represents stability in the autosampler
at 108C for 48 hours after sample preparation.
NA, not applicable.
Ther Drug Monit
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and codeine have more than 20% deviation from their mean ion
ratio at the LLOQ level and acceptable deviations at the low
level, except for codeine. Codeine showed to have a 21.2%
deviation at the low level and an acceptable maximum devia-
tion of 6.6% at the medium level. All other substances dis-
played deviations within 20% from the mean ion ratio at
the LLOQ level (see Figure, Supplement Digital content 1,
http://links.lww.com/TDM/A57). The analytical cutoff concen-
trations based on the analytical performance and the screening
cutoff concentrations set by the SoHT are shown in Table 5.
For 11 substances, the screening cutoff concentrations are set
by the SoHT, whereas for benzoylecgonine and EDDP, only
conrmatory cutoff concentrations of 50 pg/mg are provided.
For 4 substances, there are no cutoff concentrations set by the
SoHT.
24
Because of the lower sensitivity of the qualier, the
qualier/quantier ratios set the analytical cutoff concentrations
to 200 pg/mg for codeine and 80 pg/mg for 6-MAM, heroin,
EDDP, and THC. The analytical cutoff concentration for nico-
tine is 800 pg/mg, and for all other validated substances, the
method cutoff concentration is 30.0 pg/mg. All analytical cutoff
concentrations are lower than or equal to the screening cutoff
concentrations set by the SoHT. The analytical cutoff concen-
tration of 30 pg/mg for benzoylecgonine is even lower than
the conrmatory cutoff of 50 pg/mg set by the SoHT. For
EDDP, the analytical cutoff of 80 pg/mg is higher than the
conrmatory cutoff of 50 pg/mg set by the SoHT. Because
the analytical cutoff of 80 pg/mg is close to the conrmatory
cutoff of 50 pg/mg set by the SoHT, it is considered to be
adequate for screening purposes. No carryover was detected
during method development and validation. To determine
the imprecision of the method for THC, the results of the
5 hair extracts from subject 11 showed reproducible THC
concentrations and thus consistent recoveries, with a mean con-
centration of 348 (627.1) pg/mg and a CV of 7.8% (Table 6).
Routine Analysis
The developed analytical method was used to analyze the
hair of 47 subjects; hair strings were segmented when possible.
This resulted in the analysis of 129 hair extracts. During the
routine analysis, MDMA, methylphenidate, cocaine, benzoy-
lecgonine, codeine, methadone, EDDP, nicotine, and cotinine
were detected above analytical cutoff concentrations in the hair
samples. An acceptable ratio of the qualier/quantier mass
transition was also found for each positive sample. Eighty
extracts were tested positive (.800 pg/mg hair) for the presence
of nicotine, 59 of which were conrmed by the presence of
cotinine (.30.0 pg/mg hair). The concentrations found for nic-
otine ranged from 816 to 176,387 pg/mg and for cotinine from
32 to 10,296 pg/mg hair. The other detected substances are
shown in Table 6. For subjects 3 and 5, cocaine and methadone
were present in the last wash solution. The concentrations found
in the corresponding hair extracts were 2078 times higher than
those found in the last wash. In addition, the metabolites ben-
zoylecgonine and EDDP showed to be present in the extracts
and not in the last wash solution. This indicates that the wash
procedure does not remove intrinsic drugs from the hair sample
and that the outside of the hair may have been contaminated
with the used drugs. Nevertheless, the combination of these
results leads to the conclusion that cocaine and methadone were
used by these subjects. The hair samples of subjects 6 and 7
showed the presence of methylphenidate. This led to the con-
clusion that these subjects had used methylphenidate, either as
TABLE 4. Mean Qualifier/Quantifier Ratios During the
Validation and the Maximum Deviation Found at the LLOQ,
Low, and Medium Levels
Substance Mean Ion Ratio
Maximum Deviation (%)
LLOQ Low Medium
Amphetamine 70.9 5.3 2.5 3.5
Methamphetamine 29.8 12.6 5.3 6.0
MDMA 60.1 17.0 7.4 6.2
MDA 69.2 13.2 9.3 5.2
MDEA 61.2 19.2 12.4 7.2
Methylphenidate NA NA NA NA
Cocaine 8.4 10.8 5.4 4.6
Benzoylecgonine 30.4 9.2 4.5 2.8
Morphine 87.2 17.8 11.4 14.4
Codeine 85.0 39.1 21.2 6.6
6-MAM 61.0 21.4 11.8 7.9
Heroin 64.5 21.8 16.9 12.2
Methadone 49.2 6.3 6.0 3.1
EDDP 30.7 21.4 9.7 4.4
Nicotine 45.4 4.4 4.0 4.0
Cotinine 23.1 6.8 5.5 3.1
THC 38.2 79.1 17.1 12.4
NA, not applicable.
TABLE 5. Validated Analytical Cutoff Concentrations Based on
the Performance of the Quantifier and Qualifier and the
Screening Cutoff Concentrations Set by the SoHT, Where
Available
Substance
Method Cutoff
Hair (pg/mg)
SoHT Cutoff
Hair (pg/mg)
Amphetamine 30 200
Methamphetamine 30 200
MDMA 30 200
MDA 30 200
MDEA 30 200
Methylphenidate 30
Cocaine 30 500
Benzoylecgonine 30 50*
Morphine 30 200
Codeine 200 200
6-MAM 80 200
Heroin 80
Methadone 30 200
EDDP 80 50*
Nicotine 800
Cotinine 30
THC 80 100
*No screening cutoff concentration available, conrmation cutoff concentration
used.
Koster et al Ther Drug Monit
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prescription drug or as abused drug. Table 6 also shows that
segmental analysis proved repeated use of methylphenidate,
cocaine, and codeine.
DISCUSSION
This LC-MS/MS method was developed for fast
screening of abused drugs in human hair in patients who
were monitored for drug abuse. The developed method used
a fast sample preparation with a ball mill to simultaneously
pulverize and extract the hair sample. False-positive results
are minimized with the use of a wash procedure. The
developed method was fully validated with enhanced selec-
tivity by validated qualier/quantier ratios.
The ion suppression tests of simultaneous hair pulver-
ization and extraction showed 17% less ion suppre ssion for
morphine compared with morphine-D
3
. The observed ion
suppression differences for all other substances and thei r deu-
terated IS are no more than 9% and are able to correct well
for signal changes because of matrix effects. Even though
morphine-D
3
corrected less than expected for signal changes
because of matrix effects, it is still considered to be the best
available IS and proved suitable for the developed and vali-
dated screening method.
The developed simultaneous pulverization and extraction
method is very time efcient compared with separate pulver-
ization followed by extraction and showed less ion suppression
for all substances and their deuterated IS. These 2 benets
contributed to a fast and efcient hair extraction procedure.
Several methods have been described for the analysis
of multiple substances in hair. Many methods describe an
extensive sample preparation by incubating the hair sample
followed b y liquidliquid extraction and/or solid-phase
extraction and analys is using GC-MS or LC-MS/MS.
25,26
Despite extensive sample preparations, these methods show
comparable LLOQs. Previously published methods describ-
ing the analysis of multiple drugs often do not include THC in
the same analys is.
5,2730
And despite the fact that many pub-
lished methods are extens ively validated, no clear restrictions
are applied for the validation of qualier mass transitions for
LC-MS/MS analysis. Several methods describe identi cation
criteria for ion ratios found during analysis, but validated
results for ion ratios are never clearly mentioned.
5,15,26,2830
Considering the fact that the quantier mass transition is
almost always the most intense fragment and the qualier
mass transition the second most intense, it is imperative that
the latter be proven to be reliable at the validated cutoff
concentration. Validation of the qualier/quanti er ratios
have resulted in higher analytical cutoff concentrations for
codeine, 6-MAM, heroin, EDDP, and THC than the validated
LLOQs for inaccuracy and imprecision of these quantiers.
This shows that although the quantier provides good inac-
curacy and imprecision, below these analytical cutoff concen-
trations, the inaccuracy of the ion ratio may be insufcient for
conrmation of the detected subst ance. Although this raises
the analytical cutoff concentrations for these substances, they
are still within the screening cutoff concentrations set by the
SoHT.
24
This not only shows the usefulness of validating the
qualier/quantier ratios but also underlines the selectivity
and reliability of the method described here.
The routine analysis showed that multiple substances
were detected in the hair above the analytical cutoff. In some
hair samples, the parent drug was also detected in the last wash.
Although the concentrations found in the extracts were 2078
times higher than those found in the last wash, the presence of
the metabolites denitely proved use of these drugs.
CONCLUSIONS
The developed method can detect and conrm 17
substances, including THC, within one analytical run of
4.8 minutes. With this method, patients can be monitored for
drug abuse without invasive sample collection. Ongoing
TABLE 6. The Results of the Analysis of Human Hair Samples
Subject
Hair Length
Segment (cm) Substance
Last
Wash
(pg/mg)
Hair
Extract
(pg/mg)
112 MDMA ,30 44
206 MDMA ,30 165
317 Benzoylecgonine ,30 40
02 Cocaine ,30 308
Benzoylecgonine ,30 61
25 Cocaine ,30 601
Benzoylecgonine ,30 82
58 Cocaine 70 1420
Benzoylecgonine ,30 183
811 Cocaine 77 1783
Benzoylecgonine ,30 198
1522 Cocaine 88 3891
Benzoylecgonine ,30 193
407 Cocaine ,30 1235
5010 Cocaine 497 38,762
Benzoylecgonine ,30 6052
Methadone 1148 45,402
EDDP ,80 1573
602 Methylphenidate ,30 281
23 Methylphenidate ,30 174
702 Methylphenidate ,30 199
24 Methylphenidate ,30 159
47 Methylphenidate ,30 129
801 Codeine
,30 258
12 Codeine ,30 289
902 THC ,80 139
10 06 THC ,80 ,80
610 THC ,80 ,80
1014 THC ,80 ,80
1822 THC ,80 89
2837 THC ,80 121
11 00.5 THC ,80 356
00.5 THC ,80 385
00.5 THC ,80 337
00.5 THC ,80 303
00.5 THC ,80 358
The start of the "hair length segment" is the distance of the segment measured from
the scalp.
Ther Drug Monit
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9
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routine analysis proved the developed method to be a reliable
tool for determin ing 17 abused drugs and metabolites in
human hair samples from patients who were monitored for
drug abuse. The results provide the physician or health-care
professional with extensive information about drug abuse or
relapse in drug abuse and can be used for patient-specic
therapy, thus improving patient care.
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... Analysis of hair samples offers an alternative sampling matrix that can extend the potential detection window following the administration of a prohibited substance [7]. There have been several reports of the detection of methylphenidate in the hair of humans associated with either therapeutic use or abuse of the compound using either gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or liquid chromatographymass spectrometry (LC-MS) [8][9][10][11][12]. The increased sensitivity afforded by modern LC-MS equipment as compared to older GC-MS-based technology has made low-level detections (≈0.5 pg/mg) of methylphenidate possible, although many investigators only monitored the presence of a single product ion (84 m/z). ...
... There are several reports of the detection of methylphenidate in human hair summarized in Table 2, but to the best of the author's knowledge, this is the first report in the horse [8,[10][11][12]. The majority of reports have utilized LC-MS-based analysis, although GC-MS analysis has also been reported. ...
... The majority of reports have utilized LC-MS-based analysis, although GC-MS analysis has also been reported. Koster et al. utilized LC-MS analysis as part of a multi-analyte screening method using liquid-liquid extraction with an LOD of 30 pg/mg [12]. Marchei et al. utilized LC-MS-based analysis following extraction using a solid phase extraction cartridge with an LOD of 50 pg/mg [11]. ...
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A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method was developed and validated for the simultaneous identification and quantification of amphetamines, diazepam and its metabolites, cocaine and its metabolites, and opiates from hair using a single extraction method. As part of the method development, Gemini C18, Synergi Hydro RP, and Zorbax Stablebond-Phenyl LC columns were tested with three different mobile phases. Analyte recovery and limit of detection were evaluated for two different solid-phase extraction methods that used Bond Elut Certify and Clean Screen cartridges. Phosphate buffer (pH 5.0) was chosen as the optimum hair incubation medium because of the high stability of cocaine and 6-monoacetylmorphine using this method and faster sample preparation. The optimized method was fully validated. Linearity was established over the concentration range 0.2-10 ng/mg hair, and the correlation coefficients were all greater than 0.99. Total extraction recoveries were greater than 76%, detection limits were between 0.02 and 0.09 ng/mg, and the intra- and interday imprecisions were generally less than 20% in spiked hair. The intra- and interbatch imprecision of the method for a pooled authentic hair sample ranged from 1.4 to 23.4% relative standard deviation (RSD) and 8.3 to 25.4% RSD, respectively, for representative analytes from the different drug groups. The percent matrix effect ranged from 63.5 to 135.6%, with most analytes demonstrating ion suppression. Sixteen postmortem samples collected from suspected drug-related deaths were analyzed for the 17 drugs of abuse and metabolites included in the method. The method was sufficiently sensitive and specific for the analysis of drugs and metabolites in postmortem hair samples. There is scope for the inclusion of other target drugs and metabolites in the method.
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A qualitative and quantitative method for the analysis of drugs of abuse (cocaine and benzoylecgonine, opiates) and some stimulants in human hair was developed and validated. Hair samples were incubated with phosphate buffer (pH 5.0), chosen as the extraction medium, extracted with Bond Elut Certify cartridges and analyzed by LC–MS–MS and LC–MS3 as confirmation for positive results. The method proved to be specific, accurate and precise across the calibration range (0.1–30 ng/mg) where good linearity was observed. Total extraction recovery, intra-assay accuracy and precision, limits of detection and limits of quantitation were estimated. The method was successfully applied to the analysis of hair samples collected from drug abusers and it was suitable for routine analytical applications in the Antidoping Laboratory of Public Health Laboratory.
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A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS) target screening in 50mg hair was developed and fully validated for 35 analytes (Δ9-tetrahidrocannabinol (THC), morphine, 6-acetylmorphine, codeine, methadone, fentanyl, amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, benzoylecgonine, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide, ketamine, scopolamine, alprazolam, bromazepam, clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, 7-aminoflunitrazepam, lorazepam, lormetazepam, nordiazepam, oxazepam, tetrazepam, triazolam, zolpidem, zopiclone, amitriptyline, citalopram, clomipramine, fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine). Hair decontamination was performed with dichloromethane, and incubation in 2 mL of acetonitrile at 50°C overnight. Extraction procedure was performed in 2 steps, first liquid-liquid extraction, hexane:ethyl acetate (55:45, v:v) at pH 9, followed by solid-phase extraction (Strata-X cartridges). Chromatographic separation was performed in AtlantisT3 (2.1 mm × 100 mm, 3 μm) column, acetonitrile and ammonium formate pH 3 as mobile phase, and 32 min total run time. One transition per analyte was monitored in MRM mode. To confirm a positive result, a second injection monitoring 2 transitions was performed. The method was specific (no endogenous interferences, n=9); LOD was 0.2-50 pg/mg and LOQ 0.5-100 pg/mg; linearity ranged from 0.5-100 to 2000-20,000 pg/mg; imprecision <15%; analytical recovery 85-115%; extraction efficiency 4.1-85.6%; and process efficiency 2.5-207.7%; 27 analytes showed ion suppression (up to -86.2%), 4 ion enhancement (up to 647.1%), and 4 no matrix effect; compounds showed good stability 24-48 h in autosampler. The method was applied to 17 forensic cases. In conclusion, a sensitive and specific target screening of 35 analytes in 50mg hair, including drugs of abuse (THC, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines) and medicines (benzodiazepines, antidepressants) was developed and validated, achieving lower cut-offs than Society of Hair Testing recommendations.
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The Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) Guidelines for Drug Testing in Hair provide laboratories with recommended best practice guidelines whether they are currently offering drug testing in hair, or plan to offer a hair testing service in the future. The guidelines include reference to recommended sample collection and storage procedures, through sample preparation, pre-treatment and analysis and the use of cut-offs.
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One month before (T-1) and 12 months after (T12) controlled i.v. administration of pharmaceutical heroin-HCl (10-100 mg/day) in the context of a heroin maintenance program (HMP), concentrations of opiates and cocaine as well as its metabolites were determined in head hair (n = 46) using a validated gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric method. In addition, a patient collective of a methadone maintenance program (MMP, daily doses 15-260 mg) was examined (n = 35). The incidence of additional cocaine consumption decreased in both groups during the study period (T-1 to T12): in HMP from 64.6% to 45.8% and in MMP from 71.4% to 60.0%. A significant reduction of cocaine consumption was defined as an at least 30% reduction of analyte concentrations in hair (Deltac > 30%). Accordingly, in HMP, a decrease in 45.8% of initially (T-1) cocaine-positive patients was determined; in MMP, the reduction was 48.6%. In 22.9% of HMP and 37.1% of MMP, an increase of cocaine concentrations was detected. Codeine and acetylcodeine were found in 50.0% and 43.5% (T-1) and 13.0% and 10.9% (T12) of the samples of the HMP, as well as in 45.7% and 25.7% (T-1) and 17.1% and 5.7% (T12) in MMP, respectively. The missing of acetylcodeine, in particular at T-1, questions its applicability as a characteristic marker of a preceding consumption of illicit heroin in hair analysis.
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When being convicted for petty drug offence or driving under the influence of drugs in Sweden, the driving license may be suspended. To regain the license, the person has to prove that he or she has been drug free during an observation period. This is controlled by urine samples taken at several occasions. However, the risk of manipulation and the risk of false negative urine samples are high. In addition, many people find it difficult or embarrassing to urinate when observed. Hair sampling might therefore be a welcome option to this procedure, with its easy sampling and minimal risk of manipulation. The longer detection window may also provide better information to the physician. The aim of this work was to evaluate if clients preferred hair samples to urine and to investigate practical and interpretive problems or advantages with hair samples. Ninety-nine hair samples and 198 urine samples were collected from 84 clients during the 12 month study period. Hair samples were divided into either one segment (0-3 cm) or two segments (0-3 and 3-6 cm) depending on the length. The hair samples were screened with LC-MS-MS for 20 drugs and confirmation of positive results were performed with GC-MS or LC-MS-MS. The results were compared to urine samples taken at two occasions during the observation period. To cover the timeframe of the urine samples hair was collected 2 weeks after the second sample. The urine samples were analysed with immunochemical screening and positive results confirmed with GC-MS or LC-MS-MS. Seventy-four clients presented with negative results in both urine and hair. Hair analysis identified illegal drugs at seven different occasions whereas urine failed to identify any illegal drugs. However the thresholds used may still be too high to find sporadic use as clients that admitted to use drugs sporadically presented with drug concentrations lower than the agreed thresholds but above the limit of detection. This implicates that the physician must have an understanding and knowledge of the limitations of the screening methods used. Another important outcome was that the clients approved of hair sampling considering it a better means to prove their drug abstinence. In addition, both the clients and the clinicians thought hair sampling easier than urine sampling. We believe that hair analysis can offer several advantages compared to urine analysis for clinicians working with driving license regranting.