Send to

Choose Destination
Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2000;14(8):619-23.

Analysis of methylphenidate and its metabolite ritalinic acid in monkey plasma by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.

Author information

Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA.


Methylphenidate (MP, Ritalin) is a psychotropic drug widely prescribed to children for treating the symptoms of attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity. Because little information exists about the effects of chronic MP administration on cognitive function in children, measures of behavior changes in non-human primates are important surrogates. An essential component of such studies is the determination of MP plasma levels under chronic and acute dosing conditions. An analytical method was developed that provided sufficient sensitivity to measure low levels of the active parent drug (lower limit of quantitation = 0.25 ng/mL) and the inactive metabolite, ritalinic acid (RA), in monkey plasma as well as the ability to conveniently analyze large numbers of samples. The method uses a polymeric reversed-phase sorbent for solid phase extraction, an efficient reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation, deuterated internal standards for isotope dilution quantification of MP and RA, and detection by sensitive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ES-MS) with a single quadrupole instrument. The method responses are linear over the range of plasma concentrations of MP and RA observed in monkeys, gives respective analyte recoveries of 75 and 60% with reasonable precision and accuracy, and demonstrates robust MS performance for rapid determination of MP/RA plasma levels. The average peak MP concentration (ca. 16 ng/mL) and half-lives for MP and RA elimination in monkeys (1.79 and 2.31 h, respectively) were not significantly different under acute vs. chronic dosing conditions and were comparable to values previously reported from human studies.

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center