Simultaneous Screening and Quantification of 29 Drugs of Abuse in Oral Fluid by Solid-Phase Extraction and Ultraperformance LC-MS/MS

Kristian Linnet, Nora Badawi, Kirsten W. Simonsen, Anni Steentoft, Inger Marie Bernhoft

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Background: The European DRUID (Driving under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol And Medicines) project calls for analysis of oral fluid (OF) samples, collected randomly and anonymously at the roadside from drivers in Denmark throughout 2008–2009. To analyze these samples we developed an ultra performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method for detection of 29 drugs and illicit compounds in OF. The drugs detected were opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and {Delta}-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Method: Solid-phase extraction was performed with a Gilson ASPEC XL4 system equipped with Bond Elut Certify sample cartridges. OF samples (200 mg) diluted with 5 mL of ammonium acetate/methanol (vol/vol 90:10) buffer were applied to the columns and eluted with 3 mL of acetonitrile with aqueous ammonium hydroxide. Target drugs were quantified by use of a Waters ACQUITY UPLC system coupled to a Waters Quattro Premier XE triple quadrupole (positive electrospray ionization mode, multiple reaction monitoring mode). Results: Extraction recoveries were 36%–114% for all analytes, including {Delta}-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and benzoylecgonine. The lower limit of quantification was 0.5 µg/kg for all analytes. Total imprecision (CV) was 5.9%–19.4%. With the use of deuterated internal standards for most compounds, the performance of the method was not influenced by matrix effects. A preliminary account of OF samples collected at the roadside showed the presence of amphetamine, cocaine, codeine, {Delta}-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, tramadol, and zopiclone. Conclusions: The UPLC-MS/MS method makes it possible to detect all 29 analytes in 1 chromatographic run (15 min), including {Delta}-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and benzoylecgonine, which previously have been difficult to incorporate into multicomponent methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalClinical Chemistry
    Issue number11
    Pages (from-to)2004-2018
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • tandem mass spectrometry
    • solid phase extraction
    • street drugs
    • saliva
    • psychotropic drugs


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