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Ther Drug Monit. 2006 Apr;28(2):245-51.

The in vivo glucuronidation of buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine determined by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry.

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Center for Human Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


The opioid partial agonist medication, buprenorphine (BUP), and its primary metabolite, norbuprenorphine (NBUP), are extensively glucuronidated. Sensitive analytical methods that include determination of buprenorphine-3-glucuronide (BUPG) and norbuprenorphine-3-glucuronide (NBUPG) are needed to more fully understand the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of buprenorphine. A method has now been developed that uses solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry. BUP-d4, NBUP-d3, and morphine-3-glucuronide-d3 were used as internal standards. The lower limit of quantitation was 0.1 and 0.5 ng/mL for each of the analytes in 1-mL of human plasma and urine, respectively, except for NBUP in urine in which it was 2.5 ng/mL. The analytes were stable under the following conditions: plasma and urine at room temperature, up to 20 hours; plasma and urine at -20 degrees C for 119 and 85 days, respectively; plasma freeze-thaw, up to 3 cycles; processed sample, up to 96 hours at -20 degrees C and up to 48 hours on the autosampler; stock solutions at room temperature and at -20 degrees C, up to 6 hours and 128 days, respectively. In plasma collected from 5 subjects on maintenance daily sublingual doses of 16 mg BUP and 4 mg naloxone, respective 0- to 24-hour areas under the curve were 32, 88, 26, and 316 ng/mL x h for BUP, NBUP, BUPG, and NBUPG. In urine samples respective percent of daily dose excreted in the 24-hour urine were 0.014%, 1.89%, 1.01%, and 7.76%. This method allowed us to determine that NBUPG is a major metabolite present in plasma and urine of BUP. Because urinary elimination is limited ( approximately 11% of daily dose), the role of NBUPG in total clearance of buprenorphine is not yet known.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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