Fentanyl :: urine
Qualitative studies on the metabolism and the toxicological detection of the fentanyl-derived designer drugs 3-methylfentanyl and isofentanyl in rats using liquid chromatography-linear ion trap-mass spectrometry (LC-MS(n)).
Markus R Meyer, Julia Dinger, Andrea E Schwaninger, Dirk K Wissenbach, Josef Zapp, Giselher Fritschi, Hans H Maurer
Department of Experimental and Clinical Toxicology, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Saarland University, 66421 Homburg, Saar, Germany. email@example.com
The opioid 3-methylfentanyl, a designer drug of the fentanyl type, was scheduled by the Controlled Substance Act due to its high potency and abuse potential. To overcome this regulation, isofentanyl, another designer fentanyl, was synthesized in a clandestine laboratory and seized by the German police. The aims of the presented study were to identify the phase I and phase II metabolites of 3-methylfentanyl and isofentanyl in rat urine, to identify the cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes involved in their initial metabolic steps, and, finally, to test their detectability in urine. Using liquid chromatography (LC)-linear ion trap-mass spectrometry (MS(n)), nine phase I and five phase II metabolites of 3-methylfentanyl and 11 phase I and four phase II metabolites of isofentanyl could be identified. The following metabolic steps could be postulated for both drugs: N-dealkylation followed by hydroxylation of the alkyl and aryl moiety, hydroxylation of the propanamide side chain followed by oxidation to the corresponding carboxylic acid, and, finally, hydroxylation of the benzyl moiety followed by methylation. In addition, N-oxidation of isofentanyl could also be observed. All hydroxy metabolites were partly excreted as glucuronides. Using recombinant human isoenzymes, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP3A4, and CYP3A5 were found to be involved in the initial metabolic steps. Our LC-MS(n) screening approach allowed the detection of 0.01 mg/L of 3-methylfentanyl and isofentanyl in spiked urine. However, in urine of rats after the administration of suspected recreational doses, the parent drugs could not be detected, but their common nor metabolite, which should therefore be the target for urine screening.
Most cited papers:
Fentanyl is considered to be a short-acting narcotic analgesic but prolonged and recurrent ventilatory depression has been reported. We examined fentanyl kinetics and excretion in 7 healthy male subjects who were given a 3.2- or 6.4-micrograms/kg dose of 3H-fentanyl intravenously. Arterial blood and urine samples were analyzed for unchanged fentanyl and total radioactivity. Fentanyl concentrations fell rapidly and 98.6% of the dose was eliminated from plasma in 60 min but the terminal elimination phase of fentanyl from the body was slow (t1/2 beta = 219 min) due to the slow return of the unchanged drug from a peripheral compartment to the central compartment where elimination occurred primarily by biotransformation. Eighty-five percent of the dose was recovered in urine and feces in 72 hr; less than 8% was recovered as unchanged fentanyl. There were fluctuations in plasma fentanyl levels during the elimination phase in all cases. The long t1/2 beta and fluctuations in plasma levels may contribute to prolonged and recurrent ventilatory effects of fentanyl.
Experience at our institution with drug dependence among anesthesia residents, coupled with a lack of published data, prompted us to survey US anesthesia training programs. Two hundred eighty-nine programs were surveyed, 247 (85.5%) responded, and 184 (74%) of these programs had at least one suspected incident of drug dependence to report. Three hundred thirty-four confirmed persons were reported, including a substantial number of instructors. Meperidine and fentanyl were the most frequently mentioned drugs. Behavior changes were frequently noted by staff personnel, and in general such changes led directly to detection. After confirmation of abuse, the majority of impaired anesthetists were referred for psychiatric care, with few in need of actual detoxification. Detailed follow-up was available for about 40% of the total; 71 persons were offered a return to their original place of employment, while 30 persons died of drug overdose. Chemical impairment may be more common than usually thought in anesthesia, perhaps in part because of drug availability.
W Meuldermans, A Van Peer, J Hendrickx, R Woestenborghs, W Lauwers, J Heykants, G Vanden Bussche, H Van Craeyvelt, P Van der Aa
Department of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium.
The metabolism of alfentanil was studied in three healthy subjects after a 1-h infusion of 2.5 mg alfentanil-3H. One of the subjects was a poor hydroxylator of debrisoquine. Pharmacokinetic parameters were similar in the three subjects and were in the same range as those reported for volunteers. The majority of the administered radioactivity was excreted in the urine (90% of the dose), but unchanged alfentanil represented only 0.16-0.47% of the dose. Alfentanil and metabolites were characterized by HPLC co-chromatography with reference compounds and/or by mass spectrometry and quantified by GLC and radio-HPLC. The main metabolic pathway was N-dealkylation at the piperidine nitrogen, with formation of noralfentanil (30% of the dose). Other Phase I pathways were aromatic hydroxylation, N-dealkylation of the piperidine ring from the phenylpropanamide nitrogen, O-demethylation, and amide hydrolysis followed by N-acetylation. Glucuronic acid conjugation of aromatic or aliphatic hydroxyl functions was the main Phase II pathway. The second major metabolite was the glucuronide of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl) propanamide (14% of the dose). The metabolite pattern in these subjects was qualitatively very similar to that described previously in rats and dogs. Differences in the mass balance of urinary metabolites between the three subjects were very small, and there was no qualitative or quantitative evidence for a deficiency in the metabolism of alfentanil in the subject who was a poor metabolizer of debrisoquine.
Identification and quantitative determination of fentanyl metabolites in patients by gas chromatography--mass spectrometry.
Although fentanyl has been used widely as a short-acting narcotic analgesic, its metabolism in humans has not been clarified. In this study, three fentanyl metabolites were identified in the urine of eight surgical patients receiving 0.3-0.5 mg of fentanyl intravenously. The metabolites 4-N-(N-propionylanilino)piperidine, 4-N-(N-hydroxypropionylanilino)piperidine and 1-(2-phenethyl)-4-N-(N-hydroxypropionylanilino)piperidine, and unchanged fentanyl were identified by GC-mass spectrometry in urine collected 6 h after administration. Fentanyl and its main metabolite, 4-N-(N-propionylanilino)piperidine, were determined quantitatively in the urine of five additional patients receiving 0.5 mg fentanyl intravenously. Urinary excretion of fentanyl and 4-N-(N-propionylanilino)-piperidine during the first 12 h after injection accounted for 0.3-4.0% and 26 to 55% of the dose, respectively.
Department of Pathology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA.
The case history and toxicological findings of a fatal fentanyl intoxication due to the application of multiple transdermal patches are presented. An 83 year-old white female with terminal cancer was found dead with three 100 mg/h fentanyl patches on her chest. The autopsy and subsequent histological studies revealed extensive areas of gastric carcinoma, a large atrial tumor, ulceration of esophagus, metastasis of peripancreatic lymph nodes and a recent surgical removal of part of the lower lobe of the left lung. Toxicological analysis by GC/MS yielded fentanyl concentrations of blood, 25 ng/mL; brain, 54 ng/g; heart 94 ng/g; kidney 69 ng/g; and liver 104 ng/g. The cause of death was determined to be fentanyl overdose and the manner of death was ruled undetermined as the investigation was unable to conclusively establish whether this was an accidental overdose, a suicide, an assisted suicide, or possible a homicide. This case demonstrates the need for caution in self-administration of transdermal fentanyl patches, in particular, the dangers inherent in the application of multiple patches which can result in the release of potentially toxic or lethal doses.
Identification of fentanyl, alfentanil, sufentanil, remifentanil and their major metabolites in human urine by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry for doping control purposes.
Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Carl-Diem Weg 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
Since January 2005, the list of prohibited substances established by the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits the opioid agent fentanyl as well as its related drugs in professional and amateur sports. Fast, reliable and robust analytical assays are required that allow the sensitive determination of these compounds or respective metabolites in human urine, and liquid chromatography interfaced to mass spectrometry has proven to be a suitable and powerful tool for drug testing for several years. A screening and confirmation method was developed that enables the identification of fentanyl, alfentanil, remifentanil and sufentanil as well as their N-dealkylated or de-esterified metabolites utilizing solid-phase extraction of a 2 mL urine aliquot followed by LC-electrospray-MS/MS analysis. The procedure was validated in terms of recovery (95.8-104.9%), lower limit of detection (0.5 ng mL-1), specificity and interday precision (3.9-19.8%) for the four opioid drugs and the metabolic product norfentanyl. In addition, the mass spectrometric behavior of fentanyl after electrospray ionization and collision-induced dissociation was studied by synthesis and analysis of structurally related compounds, and dissociation pathways were proposed allowing the characterization of target analytes and corresponding metabolites.
Department of Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York 10029-6574.
This study was undertaken to determine if metabolites of fentanyl might be useful in the detection and monitoring of substance abuse. The presence of fentanyl and two of its metabolites in the urine and saliva of seven female patients receiving small doses (110 +/- 56 micrograms) of fentanyl was studied up to 96 h from the time of administration. Fentanyl and its two metabolites (norfentanyl and despropionylfentanyl) were extracted from samples and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Unchanged fentanyl was detectable in urine in all patients immediately postoperatively and in 3 of 7 patients at 24 h. By 72 h, fentanyl was undetectable. Norfentanyl was present in larger quantities than fentanyl immediately postoperatively and was detected in all patients at 48 h and in 4 of 7 patients at 96 h. Despropionylfentanyl was not detected in any of the urine specimens tested. Neither fentanyl nor its metabolites could be detected consistently at any time in saliva. Saliva testing does not appear to be a viable alternative to urine testing based on this study. Urinary norfentanyl might be considered as the substance of choice when testing for fentanyl abuse.
Screening for drugs of abuse (II): Cannabinoids, lysergic acid diethylamide, buprenorphine, methadone, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and other drugs.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, UK.
Requirements for the provision of an efficient and reliable service for drugs of abuse screening in urine have been summarized in Part I of this review. The requirements included rapid turn-around times, good communications between requesting clinicians and the laboratory, and participation in quality assessment schemes. In addition, the need for checking/confirmation of positive results obtained for preliminary screening methods was stressed. This aspect of the service has assumed even greater importance with widespread use of dip-stick technology and the increasing number of reasons for which drug screening is performed. Many of these additional uses of drug screening have possible serious legal implications, for example, screening school pupils, professional footballers, parents involved in child custody cases, persons applying for renewal of a driving licence after disqualification for a drug-related offence, doctors seeking re-registration after removal for drug abuse, and checking for compliance with terms of probation orders; as well as pre-employment screening and work-place testing. In many cases these requests will be received from a general practitioner or drug clinic with no indication of the reason for which testing has been requested. This also raises the serious problems of a chain of custody, provision of two samples, stability of samples, and secure and lengthy storage of samples in the laboratory-samples may be requested by legal authorities several months after the initial testing. The need for confirmation of positive results is now widely accepted but it may be equally important to confirm unexpected negative results. Failure to detect the presence of maintenance drugs may lead to the patient being discharged from a drug treatment clinic and, if attendance at the clinic is one of the terms of continued employment, to dismissal. It seems likely that increasing abuse of drugs and the efforts of regulatory authorities to control this, will lead to the manufacture of more designer drugs. Production of substituted phenethylamines was facilitated by the drug makers' cook book,'PIHKAL'(Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved) by Dr Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin, and production of substituted tryptamines is promised in their next book, TIHKAL. Looking to the future, laboratories will need to ensure that they can detect and quantitate an ever-increasing number of drugs and related substances. The question of confidence in results of drugs of abuse testing raised in 1993 by Watson has assumed even greater importance as a result of attention focused on the OJ Simpson trial in Los Angeles. Toxicological investigations are likely to be challenged more frequently in the future. Even if analyses have been performed by GC-MS, there is a need to establish the level of match between the spectrum of the unknown substance and a library spectrum which is considered acceptable for legal purposes. It will also be essential to ensure that computer libraries contain spectra for all substances likely to be encountered in drugs of abuse screening.