Determination of opiates and cocaine and its metabolites in biological fluids by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrospray tandem mass spectrometry

J Anal Toxicol. 1999 Nov-Dec;23(7):620-4. doi: 10.1093/jat/23.7.620.


A rapid, sensitive, and specific method for the determination of opiates and cocaine and metabolites in urine, plasma, and blood was established. A one-step extraction followed by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry operating in multiple reaction monitoring mode was used. Two chromatographic runs were performed, each in less than 6 min. The lower limit for accurate quantitative determination was 5 microg/L for cocaine and metabolites and 10 microg/L for opiates. Linearity was obtained from 10 to 1000 microg/L. Intraday (n = 6) and interday (n = 6) precisions and recoveries (n = 6) were determined at 10 or 25, 100, and 1000 microg/L concentrations. Precisions with a coefficient of variation less than 15% were obtained. Recoveries between 85 and 115% were determined.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Cocaine / analysis*
  • Cocaine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Narcotics / analysis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Secondary Ion / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods


  • Narcotics
  • Cocaine