Traditionally, drug tests in forensic laboratories involve a two-step process consisting of an immunoassay screen followed by a confirmatory analysis by GC-MS or LC-MS/MS. For some applications, this process can produce a high number of false positives, and more importantly, miss drugs with negative results. For example, most commercial opiate immunoassays do not detect fentanyl or fentanyl analogues. LC-MS/MS analysis saves time and cost by eliminating presumptive immunoassay analysis and provides detection and quantification of all significant drugs present in the sample.
The ACQUITY UPLC I-Class/Xevo TQ-S micro System improves the detection and quantification of the wide variety of drugs and metabolites encountered in forensic laboratories for routine drug testing of urine and oral fluid samples. The wide dynamic range of the system enables the confident detection of highly potent fentanyl compounds at trace levels in addition to more common drugs present to higher concentrations.
Drug analysis in urine and other matrices is becoming increasingly challenging for the routine forensic testing laboratory. Samples may include common controlled and illicit drugs, benzodiazepines, prescribed and illicit opioids, synthetic fentanyls, synthetic cannabinoids, and other stimulants.
Quantification of a comprehensive drug panel to achieve the appropriate analytical sensitivity, selectivity, and accuracy for unambiguous identification is readily achieved with the ACQUITY UPLC I-Class and Xevo TQ-S micro for LC-MS/MS. The system’s speed of analysis, improved selectivity, and optimum analytical sensitity provides a laboratory with the tools needed to achieve results with greater accuracy and efficiency.
In particular, the Xevo TQ-S micro offers high sensitivty and wide dynamic range that enables detection of a wide variety of compounds over extended concentration ranges from well below the detection limits of immunoassays to high concentrations encountered in overdose cases encountered in forensic labs.
Caption: Selected chromatography of compounds with the potential to interfere with each other. In each case, compounds are either baseline separated or else did not contain any product ions that caused interference. Column: ACQUITY UPLC BEH C18, 1.7 um, 2.1 x 100 mm.
Overdose deaths from opiates and synthetic opioids have risen dramatically over the past few years, with fentanyl and its analogs involved in many. Due to their high potency, the concentrations of these compounds are often in the sub ng/mL range. Immunoassays designed to detect opiates are likely to miss fentanyl and other synthetic opiates. If fentanyl’s are suspected to be present in a post mortem sample, a definitive drug analysis method by LC-MS/MS has a much higher chance of detecting the drugs.
Caption: Chromatograms of opiates illustrating baseline separation using a ACQUITY UPLC BEH C18, 1.7 um, 2.1 x 100 mm column.