Determination of atorvastatin and metabolites in human plasma with solid-phase extraction followed by LC-tandem MS

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2005 Jul;382(5):1242-9. doi: 10.1007/s00216-005-3266-5. Epub 2005 Jun 3.


The aim of the present study was to develop a chromatographic method for the analysis of atorvastatin, o- and p-hydroxyatorvastatin (acid and lactone forms) in human plasma after administration of atorvastatin at the lowest registered dose (10 mg) in clinical studies. Sample preparation was performed by solid-phase extraction and was followed by separation of the analytes on an HPLC system with a linear gradient and a mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile, water and formic acid. Detection was achieved by tandem mass spectrometry operated in the electrospray positive ion mode. Validation of the method for the compounds for which reference compounds were available (acid forms of atorvastatin, o- and p-hydroxyatorvastatin) showed linearity within the concentration range (0.2-30 ng/ml for atorvastatin acid and p-hydroxyatorvastatin acid, and 0.5-30 ng/ml for o-hydroxyatorvastatin acid) (r2 > or = 0.99, n = 5 for all analytes). Accuracy and precision (evaluated at 0.5, 3 and 30 ng/ml for atorvastatin, p-hydroxyatorvastatin and 1, 3 and 30 ng/ml for o-hydroxyatorvastatin) were both satisfactory. The detection limit was 0.06 ng/ml for atorvastatin and p-hydroxyatorvastatin, and 0.15 ng/ml for o-hydroxyatorvastatin. The method has been successfully applied in a clinical study where atorvastatin, o- and p-hydroxyatorvastatin (both acid and lactone forms) could be detected in a 24-h sampling interval after administration of the lowest registered dose of atorvastatin (10 mg) for one week.

MeSH terms

  • Atorvastatin
  • Biotransformation
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Heptanoic Acids / blood*
  • Heptanoic Acids / metabolism*
  • Heptanoic Acids / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / blood*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Molecular Structure
  • Pyrroles / blood*
  • Pyrroles / metabolism*
  • Pyrroles / pharmacokinetics
  • Reference Standards
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin