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J Anal Toxicol. 2017 Apr 1;41(3):196-204. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkw113.

Stability of 21 Cocaine, Opioid and Benzodiazepine Drug Analytes in Spiked Meconium at Three Temperatures.

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Department of Pathology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.
ARUP Laboratories, 500 Chipeta Way, MS-115, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


In this study, the stability of 21 cocaine, opioid and benzodiazepine analytes in spiked meconium was investigated at three storage temperatures: 4°C, room temperature (RT), and 37°C (body temperature). The drugs/metabolites included were hydrocodone, hydromorphone, codeine, morphine, 6-acetylmorphine (6-AM), oxycodone, oxymorphone, cocaine, cocaethylene, benzoylecgonine, m-hydroxybenzoylecgonine, diazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, nordiazepam, chlordiazepoxide, lorazepam, alprazolam, alpha-hydroxyalprazolam, clonazepam, 7-aminoclonazepam, midazolam, alpha-hydroxymidazolam and zolpidem. Drug testing was performed using mass spectrometry methods that were validated for clinical use. After 2 weeks of storage, a substantial loss was observed in the concentrations of 7-aminoclonazepam (48.4% at 4°C and 71.5% at RT), and chlordiazepoxide (59.5% at RT). A slight decrease was observed in the concentrations of alprazolam (20.9% at 4°C), clonazepam (24.5% at 4°C), chlordiazepoxide (23.5% at 4°C), midazolam (20.8% at 4°C), nordiazepam (22.8% at RT), and alpha-hydroxyalprazolam (20.7% at 4°C). At 37°C, the concentrations of chlordiazepoxide, 7-aminoclonazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, nordiazepam and temazepam decreased by 81.4%, 86.8%, 56.5%, 59.9%, 45.4% and 31.7%, respectively, after 2 weeks. 6-AM was observed to be unstable regardless of storage temperatures. For morphine, a 33.3% increase at 4°C and a 23.4% increase at RT were observed after 2 weeks, respectively, possibly due to 6-AM degradation, while no changes ≥20% were observed at 37°C. All other analytes were stable up to 2 weeks at all three storage temperatures (concentration changes <20%). The stability of select drug analytes in authentic clinical meconium specimens was consistent with that observed in spiked meconium. In conclusion, some drugs in meconium may not be stable for long periods of time. Sample storage conditions are an important consideration in the context of detection windows and interpreting drug-testing results in meconium. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first stability study of cocaine, opioids and benzodiazepines in meconium concerning the effects of storage temperatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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