Enantioselective analysis of zopiclone and its metabolites in plasma by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry
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A high-performance liquid chromatographic method with triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS-MS) was developed and validated for the first time for the simultaneous quantification of zopiclone and its metabolites in rat plasma samples. The analytes were isolated from rat plasma by liquid–liquid extraction and separated using a chiral stationary phase based on an amylose derivative, Chiralpak ADR-H column, and ethanol–methanol–acetonitrile (50:45:5, v/v/v) plus 0.025% diethylamine as the mobile phase, at a flow-rate of 1.0 mL min−1. Moclobemide was used as the internal standard. The developed method was linear over the concentration range of 7.5–500 ng mL−1. The mean absolute recoveries were 74.6 and 75.7; 61.6 and 56.9; 72.5, and 70.7 for zopiclone enantiomers, for N-desmethyl zopiclone enantiomers and for zopiclone-N-oxide enantiomers, respectively, and 75.9 for the internal standard. Precision and accuracy were within acceptable levels of confidence (<15%). The method application in a pilot study of zopiclone kinetic disposition in rats showed that the levels of (+)-(S)-zopiclone were always higher than those of (−)-R-zopiclone. Higher concentrations were also observed for (+)-(S)-N-desmethyl zopiclone and (+)-(S)-N-oxide zopiclone, confirming the stereoselective disposition of zopiclone.