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Clin Chem. 1986 Feb;32(2):325-8.

Screening and quantification of hypnotic sedatives in serum by capillary gas chromatography with a nitrogen-phosphorus detector, and confirmation by capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.


We describe a quantitative screen for hypnotic-sedative drugs in which we use capillary gas chromatography with a nitrogen-phosphorus detector (GC/NPD) as the primary method and capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for confirmation. GC retention times of the acid-extracted underivatized drugs were stable (CVs less than 1%), and the detector response varied linearly over a 20-fold concentration range with a mean correlation coefficient for 11 drugs of 0.989. The limits of detection were satisfactory (0.5 mg/L in a 0.5-mL serum sample and 1-microL injection volume), as were precision (average CV 5.2% within day, 6.4% between day). The complementary use of capillary GC-MS not only unambiguously confirms presumptive peaks identified by GC, but also prevents reports of false positives and identifies compounds not included in the quantitative GC screen that may be listed in the GC-MS library.

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