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J Anal Toxicol. 2012 Mar;36(2):81-7. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkr020.

Patterns of free (unconjugated) buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine, and their glucuronides in urine using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

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ARUP Laboratories, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


Patterns of buprenorphine and metabolites were examined in 1946 positive urine samples analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for free (unconjugated) buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine (quantitative, 2 to 1000 ng/mL) and buprenorphine-glucuronide (B3G) and norbuprenorphine-glucuronide (N3G) (semi-quantitative, 5 to 1000 ng/mL). Two distribution patterns predominated with 49.1% positive for norbuprenorphine, B3G, and N3G and 41.6% positive for buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine, B3G, and N3G. Buprenorphine, positive in 45.5% of samples, was mostly < 5 ng/mL (median 6.1 ng/mL), but 9.8% were > 1000 ng/mL. Norbuprenorphine, B3G, and N3G had semi-Gaussian distributions with medians of 64.7, 108, and 432 ng/mL, respectively. With buprenorphine < 100 ng/mL (767 samples) or ≥ 100 ng/mL (19 quantifiable samples), the respective median metabolic ratios (free norbuprenorphine/free buprenorphine) were 25.0 and 0.15. In 12 retested "> 1000 ng/mL" buprenorphine samples, free buprenorphine was 4160 to 39,400 ng/mL and free naloxone 2140 to 9560 ng/mL. In 87 subsequent samples with buprenorphine < 20 ng/mL, naloxone concentrations were < 50 ng/mL. Concentrations of buprenorphine > 100 ng/mL (particularly with low metabolite concentrations) are suspect of urine adulteration with medication (4% in the database) that can be checked in most cases by concurrent analysis for naloxone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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