Clinical pharmacokinetic studies of antiretrovirals require accurate and precise measurement of plasma drug concentrations. Here we describe a simple, fast and sensitive HPLC-MS/MS method for determination of the commonly used protease inhibitors (PI) amprenavir, atazanavir, darunavir, lopinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir and the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) nevirapine, as well as the more recent antiretrovirals, the CCR5 antagonist maraviroc and the "second generation" NNRTI etravirine and rilpivirine. An internal standard (quinoxalone; QX) was added to plasma aliquots (100 microl) prior to protein precipitation with acetonitrile (500 microl) followed by centrifugation and addition of 0.05% formic acid (200 microl) to the supernatant. Chromatographic separation was achieved using a gradient (acetonitrile and 0.05% formic acid) mobile phase on a reverse-phase C18 column. Detection was via selective reaction monitoring (SRM) operating in positive ionization mode on a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer. All compounds eluted within a 5 min run time. Calibration curves were validated over concentration ranges reflecting therapeutic concentrations observed in HIV-infected patients from pharmacokinetic data reported in the literature. Correlation coefficients (r2) exceeded 0.998. Inter- and intra-assay variation ranged between 1% and 10% and % recovery exceeded 90% for all analytes. The method described is being successfully applied to measure plasma antiretroviral concentrations from samples obtained from clinical pharmacokinetic studies.
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