The use of blood spot collection cards was investigated as a means of obtaining small volume samples for the quantification of therapeutic drugs for assessing medication adherence. A liquid chromatography-high resolution TOF mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) method, based on the measurement at the accurate mass to charge ratio of the target analyte, was used to ensure specificity for atenolol in the dried blood spot (DBS) samples. A working method was developed and validated. For the preparation of DBS samples whole blood spiked with analyte was used to produce 30 μl blood spots on specimen collection cards. A 5mm disc was cut from the dried blood spot and extracted using methanol:water (60:40, v/v) containing the internal standard, atenolol-d(7). Extracts were vortexed, sonicated and then centrifuged. Gradient chromatographic elution was achieved using an Ascentis Express C18 100mm×2.1mm column and a mobile phase flow rate of 0.2 ml/min and the column oven temperature at 30 °C. MS detection was carried out in electrospray positive ion mode for target ions at accurate mass m/z 267.1703 for atenolol and 274.2143 for the IS. Drug extraction efficiency from spiked blood spots was demonstrated to be 96±5% and the drug was stable in DBS for at least 10 weeks. The developed LC-HRMS method was linear within the tested calibration range of 25-1500 ng/ml and validation showed the accuracy (relative error) and precision (coefficient of variation) values were within the pre-defined limits of ≤ 5% at all concentrations with a limit of quantification of 25 ng/ml. Factors with potential to affect drug quantification measurements such as the matrix effects, volume of blood applied onto the collection card and effect of different sampling cards were investigated. The developed LC-HRMS method was applied to blood spots on sampling card taken from adult healthy volunteers previously administered a 50mg atenolol tablet and a DBS concentration-time profile was obtained for atenolol. Requiring only a micro volume (30 μl) blood sample for analysis, the developed DBS based assay has the potential to assess patient adherence to atenolol.
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