Detection of diazepam in urine, hair and preserved oral fluid samples with LC-MS-MS after single and repeated administration of Myolastan® and Valium®
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Sedative agents are used to facilitate sexual assault due to their ability to render the victim passive, submissive and unable to resist. The primary pharmacological effect of the benzodiazepine tetrazepam is muscle relaxation, whereas the benzodiazepine diazepam acts on the central nervous system (CNS) exerting mainly sedation effects. Therefore, contrary to tetrazepam, diazepam is an often-abused drug, which can potentially be used as a date-rape drug. In this study, we describe the detection of low amounts of diazepam in Myolastan® (Sanofi–Synthelabo S.A., Brussels, Belgium) and Epsipam® (Will-Pharma, Wavre, Belgium) 50mg tablet preparations by LC-MS-MS, GC-FID and HPLC-DAD. Considering the important forensic implication of this finding, a study was conducted with volunteers receiving a single or repeated dosage of Myolastan®. Urine, hair and preserved oral fluid samples were analysed using a previously described sensitive and specific LC-MS-MS detection method allowing for the simultaneous quantification of tetrazepam, diazepam, nordiazepam, oxazepam and temazepam. This study demonstrates that diazepam can be observed in urine samples even after a single dose of Myolastan®. In addition, maintaining therapy for 1 week results in the detection of both diazepam and nordiazepam in urine samples and of diazepam in the first hair segment. Importantly, comparing urine and hair samples after a single intake of diazepam versus the single and 1 week administration of Myolastan® shows that the possible metabolic conversion of tetrazepam to diazepam is a more plausible explanation for the detection of diazepam in biological samples after the intake of Myolastan®. As such, these results reveal that the presence of diazepam and/or nordiazepam in biological samples from alleged drug-facilitated assault cases should be interpreted with care.
KeywordsLC-MS-MS Tetrazepam Diazepam Urine Hair Oral fluid
The authors would like to thank Dr. Frank Peters and Dr. Jochen Beyer for their valuable discussions and suggestions.
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