Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 388, Issue 7, pp 1415–1435 | Cite as

Bioanalytical procedures for determination of drugs of abuse in blood

  • Thomas KraemerEmail author
  • Liane D. Paul


Determination of drugs of abuse in blood is of great importance in clinical and forensic toxicology. This review describes procedures for detection of the following drugs of abuse and their metabolites in whole blood, plasma or serum: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol glucuronide, heroin, 6-monoacetylmorphine, morphine, morphine-6-glucuronide, morphine-3-glucuronide, codeine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, N-ethyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester, cocaethylene, other cocaine metabolites or pyrolysis products (norcocaine, norcocaethylene, norbenzoylecgonine, m-hydroxycocaine, p-hydroxycocaine, m-hydroxybenzoylecgonine, p-hydroxybenzoylecgonine, ethyl ecgonine, ecgonine, anhydroecgonine methyl ester, anhydroecgonine ethyl ester, anhydroecgonine, noranhydroecgonine, N-hydroxynorcocaine, cocaine N-oxide, anhydroecgonine methyl ester N-oxide). Metabolites and degradation products which are recommended to be monitored for assessment in clinical or forensic toxicology are mentioned. Papers written in English between 2002 and the beginning of 2007 are reviewed. Analytical methods are assessed for their suitability in forensic toxicology, where special requirements have to be met. For many of the analytes sensitive immunological methods for screening are available. Screening and confirmation is mostly done by gas chromatography (GC)–mass spectrometry (MS) or liquid chromatography (LC)–MS(/MS) procedures. Basic information about the biosample assayed, internal standard, workup, GC or LC column and mobile phase, detection mode, and validation data for each procedure is summarized in two tables to facilitate the selection of a method suitable for a specific analytic problem.


Drugs of abuse Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry Blood Determination Forensic toxicology 



anhydroecgonine methyl ester


atmospheric pressure chemical ionization




chemical ionization


cytochrome P-450


capillary zone electrophoresis


diode array detection


electron ionization


ecgonine methyl ester


electrospray ionization


gas chromatography


heptafluorobutyric anhydride


(S)-(-)-heptafluorobutyrylprolyl chloride


high-performance liquid chromatography


liquid chromatography


laser-induced fluorescence


liquid–liquid extraction


limit of quantification


limit of detection














multiple reaction monitoring


mass spectrometry


tandem mass spectrometry


(R)-(-)-α-methoxy-α-trifluoromethylphenylacetyl chloride


negative ion chemical ionization




positive ion chemical ionization


selected ion monitoring


solid-phase extraction




11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol glucuronide




ultraperformance liquid chromatography


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineSaarland UniversityHomburg (Saar)Germany
  2. 2.Institute of Legal MedicineLudwig Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany

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