Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 398, Issue 3, pp 1207–1229 | Cite as

Anabolic, doping, and lifestyle drugs, and selected metabolites in wastewater—detection, quantification, and behaviour monitored by high-resolution MS and MS n before and after sewage treatment

  • Horst Fr. Schröder
  • Wilhelm Gebhardt
  • Mario Thevis
Original Paper


Municipal wastewater has been examined for steroids, β2-agonists, stimulants, diuretics, and phosphodiesterase type V inhibitors (PDE type V inhibitors), which are “dual-use-drugs” applied either as anabolic, doping, and lifestyle drugs or for treatment of diverse diseases. To identify their origin, fitness centre discharges under suspicion of being point sources and sewage-treatment plant feed and effluents were sampled and concentrations determined. Sensitive and selective methods for determination and quantification based on solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed by high-performance liquid chromatography–high resolution mass and tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC–(HR)MS and HPLC–MS–MS) were developed and established for analysis of these compounds in wastewater and to assess their effect on the environment. The methods developed enabled quantification at trace concentrations (limit of quantification (LOQ): 5 ng L−1). Of the steroids and stimulants under investigation, testosterone, methyltestosterone, and boldenone or ephedrine, amphetamine, and MDMA (3,4-methylendioxy-N-methylamphetamine) were observed at up to 5 μg L−1 (ephedrine). Of the β2-agonists salbutamol only, and of the diuretics furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide were confirmed in the extracts. Quite high concentrations of the PDE type V inhibitors sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil and their metabolites were confirmed in fitness centre discharges (sildenafil: 1,945 ng L−1) whereas their concentrations in municipal wastewater did not exceed 35 ng L−1. This study identified anabolic and doping drugs in wastewater for the first time. Results obtained from wastewater treatment plant effluents proved that these “dual-use-drugs”, with the exception of hydrochlorothiazide, were mostly eliminated.


Anabolic, doping and lifestyle drugs on their ways into the environment


Anabolic Doping Lifestyle drugs Wastewater LC–MS LC–MSn Elimination Degradation 



The authors thank the employees of the workshop of the Institute of Environmental Engineering for their fruitful support during wastewater sample collection.

Supplementary material

216_2010_3958_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (480 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 479 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Horst Fr. Schröder
    • 1
  • Wilhelm Gebhardt
    • 1
  • Mario Thevis
    • 2
  1. 1.RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.German Sports University CologneKölnGermany

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