Send to

Choose Destination
J Anal Toxicol. 2017 May 1;41(4):289-299. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkx003.

Metabolic Patterns of Fentanyl, Meperidine, Methylphenidate, Tapentadol and Tramadol Observed in Urine, Serum or Plasma.

Author information

Department of Pathology, University of UtahHealth Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.
ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


Drug testing is a useful tool to identify drug use or monitor adherence to prescription drugs. The interpretation of drug results can be complicated based on the pattern and proportional concentrations of drugs and/or drug metabolite(s). The purpose of this retrospective study was to detect the positivity rates and metabolic patterns of five prescription drugs, including fentanyl, meperidine, methylphenidate, tapentadol and tramadol. Retrospective data were retrieved from the laboratory information system in a national reference laboratory. Drug testing was performed using four mass spectrometry methods that were validated for clinical use. For urine specimens, the positivity rate was the highest for methylphenidate (62.3%, n = 2,489), followed by tramadol (43.7%, n = 3,483), fentanyl (41.9%, n = 4,657), tapentadol (37.9%, n = 736) and meperidine (8.3%, n = 138). Among positive samples, both parent drug and metabolite(s) was detectable in 94.9% of meperidine samples, 94.5% of tramadol samples, 93.8% of fentanyl samples, 89.9% of methylphenidate and 86.6% of tapentadol samples. For serum or plasma specimens, the positivity rate was the highest for tapentadol (75.0%, n = 39), followed by methylphenidate (74.2%, n = 569), fentanyl (53.6%, n = 113), meperidine (41.9%, n = 18) and tramadol (28.9%, n = 213). Similar metabolic patterns were found in serum or plasma. Of positive results, both parent drug and metabolite(s) were found in 94.7% of fentanyl samples, 83.3% of meperidine samples, 79.6% of methylphenidate samples, 53.8% of tapentadol samples and 44.1% of tramadol samples. Our data demonstrates the metabolic patterns of five drugs from a random urine or serum/plasma collection in patients that have been prescribed these medications. The data presented can be used to guide clinicians in determining drug adherence by assessing the positivity rates of the parent drug and corresponding metabolite(s).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center