Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 400, Issue 10, pp 3481–3489 | Cite as

Drugs of abuse screening in urine as part of a metabolite-based LC-MSn screening concept

  • Dirk K. Wissenbach
  • Markus R. Meyer
  • Daniela Remane
  • Anika A. Philipp
  • Armin A. Weber
  • Hans H. Maurer
Original Paper


Today, immunoassays and several chromatographic methods are in use for drug screening in clinical and forensic toxicology and in doping control. For further proof of the authors’ new metabolite-based liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MSn) screening concept, the detectability of drugs of abuse and their metabolites using this screening approach was studied. As previously reported, the corresponding reference library was built up with MS2 and MS3 wideband spectra using a LXQ linear ion trap with electrospray ionization in the positive mode and full scan information-dependent acquisition. In addition to the parent drug spectra recorded in methanolic solution, metabolite spectra were identified after protein precipitation of urine from rats after administration of the corresponding drugs and added to the library. This consists now of data of over 900 parent compounds, including 87 drugs of abuse, and of over 2,300 metabolites and artifacts, among them 436 of drugs of abuse. Recovery, process efficiency, matrix effects, and limits of detection for selected drugs of abuse were determined using spiked human urine, and the resulting data have been acceptable. Using two automatic data evaluation tools (ToxID and SmileMS), the intake of 54 of the studied drugs of abuse could be confirmed in urine samples of drug users after protein precipitation and LC separation. The following drugs classes were covered: stimulants, designer drugs, hallucinogens, (synthetic) cannabinoids, opioids, and selected benzodiazepines. The presented LC-MSn method complements the well-established gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy procedure in the authors’ laboratory.


Urine Screening LC-MS Library Metabolite Drugs of abuse 



The authors thank Golo M. Meyer, Andrea E. Schwaninger, Carsten Schröder, and Gabi Ulrich, as well as Kornelia Weidemann and Edeltraud Thiry (ThermoFisher Scientific Instruments, Dreieich, Germany), and Pierre-Alain Binz, Nicolas Budin, Yann Mauron, and Roman Mylonas (GeneBio, Geneva, Switzerland) for their support.

Supplementary material

216_2011_5032_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (451 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 451 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk K. Wissenbach
    • 1
  • Markus R. Meyer
    • 1
  • Daniela Remane
    • 1
  • Anika A. Philipp
    • 1
  • Armin A. Weber
    • 1
  • Hans H. Maurer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental and Clinical Toxicology, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and ToxicologySaarland UniversityHomburg (Saar)Germany

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