Clean-up, detection and determination of salbutamol in human urine and serum

Analyst. 2000 Sep;125(9):1569-72. doi: 10.1039/b000010h.


Salbutamol ¿2-(tert-butylamino)-1-[4-hydroxy-3- (hydroxymethyl)phenyl]ethanol¿, also known as albuterol, is clinically the most widely used beta 2-adrenoceptor agonist in the treatment of bronchial asthma. During this study, we evaluated liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) and solid-phase extraction (SPE) in order to develop a reliable extraction method followed by analysis using liquid chromatography and gas chromatography. An assay is described which involves SPE as the clean-up method followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to determine salbutamol levels in human serum after oral administration. The SPE method requires the use of a hyper-cross-linked styrene-divinylbenzene bonded phase (ENV+) without involving any sample pre-treatment to obtain 60-65% recoveries for salbutamol and terbutaline as the internal standard. Distilled water and 1% trifluoroacetic acid in methanol were found to be the most suitable washing solvent and eluting solvent, respectively. A detection limit of 2 ng mL-1 was achieved by derivatization with N-methyl-N-trimethylsilyltrifluoroacetamide to form trimethylsilyl (TMS)-salbutamol (m/z 369) and TMS-terbutaline (m/z 356). The relationship between the ratio of the peak area of salbutamol to that of the internal standard and concentration was linear for the range tested (2-200 ng mL-1) and the correlation of coefficient was 0.9999 with a y-intercept not significantly different from zero. The inter-day relative standard deviation (RSD) was < 10% for all three concentrations. The intra-day RSD was 14% for 2 ng mL-1. This assay was then successfully applied to human serum samples obtained from clinical trials after oral administration of salbutamol.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuterol / analysis*
  • Albuterol / blood
  • Albuterol / urine
  • Bronchodilator Agents / analysis*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / blood
  • Bronchodilator Agents / urine
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Albuterol