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J Anal Toxicol. 2007 May;31(4):195-9.

A simple and rapid method for the identification of zolpidem carboxylic acid in urine.

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  • 1Toxicology Unit, Pacific Laboratory Medicine Services, P.O. Box 53, North Ryde, New South Wales 1670, Australia. j.lewis@unsw.edu.au


Zolpidem is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic that has been implicated in both drug-facilitated sexual assault and drink spiking. Detection of the drug in urine is extremely difficult because of its extensive metabolism. A method is presented for the detection and quantitation of zolpidem carboxylic acid (ZCA), the major urinary metabolite of zolpidem. The metabolite was extracted from urine at pH 4.5-5.0 with chloroform/isopropanol alkylated with ethyl iodide and identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in the selected ion-monitoring mode. Following a single ingestion of 10 mg zopidem, ZCA is detected for up to 72 h. The limit of detection is 2 ng/mL, with an overall recovery of 80%. Using this procedure, zolpidem was identified in two cases of alleged drug-facilitated sexual assault.

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