Drug screening of whole blood by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

J Anal Toxicol. 2011 Jun;35(5):280-93. doi: 10.1093/anatox/35.5.280.


An ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS-MS) method for screening of drugs in whole blood has been developed and validated. Samples were prepared by supported liquid-liquid extraction on ChemElute(®) columns with ethyl acetate/heptane (4:1). LC separation was achieved with an Acquity HSS T3-column (2.1 100 mm, 1.8-μm particle). Mass detection was performed by positive ion mode electrospray MS-MS and included the following drugs/metabolites: morphine, codeine, ethyl morphine, oxycodone, buprenorphine, methadone, cocaine, methylphenidate, amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), fentanyl, alprazolam, bromazepam, clonazepam, diazepam, nordiazepam, 3-OH-diazepam, fenazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, zopiclone, zolpidem, carisoprodol, and meprobamate. The cycle time was 9 min, and within- and between-day relative coefficients of variation varied from 1% to 33% and 2% to 58%, respectively. Extraction recoveries from whole blood were > 50% except for morphine and THC. The limit of quantitation was 0.1 to 521 ng/mL, depending on the drug.

MeSH terms

  • Buprenorphine / blood
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Cocaine / blood
  • Codeine / blood
  • Dronabinol / blood
  • Ethylmorphine / blood
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / blood*
  • Methadone / blood
  • Morphine / blood
  • Oxycodone / metabolism
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / blood
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Buprenorphine
  • Morphine
  • Dronabinol
  • Oxycodone
  • Cocaine
  • Ethylmorphine
  • Methadone
  • Codeine