Analysis of octopamine in human doping control samples

Biomed Chromatogr. 2012 May;26(5):610-5. doi: 10.1002/bmc.1705. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


The biogenic amine octopamine [4-(2-amino-1-hydroxyethyl)phenol] is prohibited in sports owing to its stimulating and performance-enhancing properties. Adverse analytical findings in athletes' doping control samples commonly result from surreptitious applications; however, the occurrence of octopamine in nutritional supplements and in selected invertebrates as well as the assumption that its N-methylated analog synephrine [4-(1-hydroxyethyl-2-methylamino)phenol, not banned by anti-doping authorities but currently monitored in prevalence studies) might be converted in-vivo into octopamine have necessitated a study to investigate the elimination of synephrine and octopamine present in over-the-counter products. Urine samples collected after administration of nutritional supplements containing octopamine and/or synephrine as well as urine samples collected after therapeutic application of octopamine- or synephrine-containing drugs were analyzed using a validated solid-phase extraction-based procedure employing a weak cation exchange resin and liquid chromatographic/tandem mass spectrometric detection with electrospray ionization and multiple reaction monitoring. In the case of therapeutic octopamine application, the urinary concentration of the target compound increased from baseline levels below the lower limit of detection to 142 µg/mL, while urine samples collected after synephrine as well as dietary supplement administration did not yield any evidence for elevated renal excretion of octopamine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Octopamine / administration & dosage
  • Octopamine / chemistry
  • Octopamine / pharmacokinetics
  • Octopamine / urine*
  • Synephrine / administration & dosage
  • Synephrine / chemistry
  • Synephrine / pharmacokinetics
  • Synephrine / urine
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Tyramine / urine


  • Octopamine
  • Synephrine
  • Tyramine