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J Chromatogr. 1992 Sep 16;580(1-2):3-41.

Systematic toxicological analysis of drugs and their metabolites by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität des Saarlandes, Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) procedures for the systematic toxicological analysis of several categories of drugs relevant to clinical toxicology, forensic toxicology and doping control are reviewed. Papers from 1981 to 1991 are taken into consideration. They describe the detection of acute or chronic intoxication and the detection of drug abuse. Screening procedures are included for the following categories: barbiturates and other sedative-hypnotics, anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, phenothiazine and butyrophenone neuroleptics, central stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine), hallucinogens (LSD, phencyclidine, tetrahydrocannabinol), opioid (narcotic) and other potent analgesics, non-opioid analgesics, antihistamines (histamine H1-receptor blockers), antiparkinsonian drugs, beta-blockers (beta-adrenoceptor blockers), antiarrhythmics (class I and IV), diuretics, laxatives and their metabolites. Methods for confirmation of results obtained by screening procedures using immunoassay or chromatographic techniques are also included. GC-MS procedures for the simultaneous detection of several categories of drugs, the so-called "general unknown analysis", are reviewed. The toxicological question to be answered and the consequence for the choice of an adequate method, the sample preparation and the chromatography itself are discussed. The basic information about the biosample assayed, work-up, GC column, mass spectral detection mode, reference data and sensitivity of each procedure are summarized in tables, arranged according to the category of drug. Examples of typical GC-MS applications are presented. Fragment ions that are suitable for mass spectral screening for particular categories of drugs and for general unknown are tabulated.

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