Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 406, Issue 1, pp 225–237 | Cite as

A qualitative/quantitative approach for the detection of 37 tryptamine-derived designer drugs, 5 β-carbolines, ibogaine, and yohimbine in human urine and plasma using standard urine screening and multi-analyte approaches

  • Markus R. Meyer
  • Achim Caspar
  • Simon D. Brandt
  • Hans H. Maurer
Research Paper


The first synthetic tryptamines have entered the designer drug market in the late 1990s and were distributed as psychedelic recreational drugs. In the meantime, several analogs have been brought onto the market indicating a growing interest in this drug class. So far, only scarce analytical data were available on the detectability of tryptamines in human biosamples. Therefore, the aim of the presented study was the development and full validation of a method for their detection in human urine and plasma and their quantification in human plasma. The liquid chromatography-linear ion trap mass spectrometry method presented covered 37 tryptamines as well as five β-carbolines, ibogaine, and yohimbine. Compounds were analyzed after protein precipitation of urine or fast liquid–liquid extraction of plasma using an LXQ linear ion trap coupled to an Accela ultra ultra high-performance liquid chromatography system. Data mining was performed via information-dependent acquisition or targeted product ion scan mode with positive electrospray ionization. The assay was selective for all tested substances with limits of detection in urine between 10 and 100 ng/mL and in plasma between 1 and 100 ng/mL. A validated quantification in plasma according to international recommendation could be demonstrated for 33 out of 44 analytes.


Tryptamines Analytical toxicology Mass spectrometry Human urine Human plasma LC-MSn 



The authors like to thank Gabriele Ulrich, Carsten Schröder, and Armin A. Weber for their support as well as Carina Wink and Golo M. Meyer for their help.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus R. Meyer
    • 1
  • Achim Caspar
    • 1
  • Simon D. Brandt
    • 2
  • Hans H. Maurer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental and Clinical Toxicology, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and ToxicologySaarland UniversityHomburgGermany
  2. 2.School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular SciencesLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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