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J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Apr;38(4):309-14.

Performance of human mass balance studies with stable isotope-labeled drug and continuous flow-isotope ratio mass spectrometry: a progress report.

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Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Massachusetts 02130, USA.


We propose performing human mass balance studies by administering stable isotope labeled (13C or 15N) drug and quantitating excess (above background) 13C or 15N in urine, serum, and feces by continuous flow-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (CF-IRMS). Theoretical calculations and empirical data (dynamic range, linearity, sensitivity, precision, accuracy) are presented to establish that commercially available CF-IRMS instruments can quantitate stable isotope labeled (one or two 15N or 13C labels) drug concentrations of 1.0 microg/mL or greater in urine, serum (15N), or feces. More than two 13C labels may be necessary to quantitate 1.0 microg/mL of drug in serum. Three volunteers received 650 mg of 15N13C2-acetaminophen, and urine was collected for 72 hours. Percent of administered label recovered in urine from the three subjects was 97.4, 78.9, and 95.4 for 13C and 90.3, 77.0, and 90.6 for 15N. Fecal recovery of label for one subject was 0.9% (13C2) and 1.1% (15N). Serum pharmacokinetic values obtained by counting 13C or 15N in one subject were as expected for acetaminophen. This method appears to be promising, and further validation is ongoing.

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