Acetyl Fentanyl Toxicity: Two Case Reports

J Anal Toxicol. 2016 Nov;40(9):754-757. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkw068. Epub 2016 Jul 13.


Acetyl fentanyl is an illicit fentanyl analog recently appearing in forensic casework. A quantitative method was created for measuring acetyl fentanyl in various biological matrices acquired post-mortem due to recent positive screening results in casework. Initial detection by immunoassay and standard gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) methods have been previously reported for acetyl fentanyl and are examined further here. A Selective Ion Monitoring (SIM) method was created using a GC/MS for quantitation. In two separate cases, acetyl fentanyl was found to be in similar concentrations to those previously reported and ruled to be the cause of death. Acetyl fentanyl concentrations were determined in blood samples, liver, brain, vitreous humor, and urine. Individual 1 had acetyl fentanyl concentrations as follows: heart blood-285 ng/mL, femoral blood-192 ng/mL, liver-1,100 ng/g, brain-620 ng/g, and urine-3,420 ng/mL. Individual 2 had acetyl fentanyl concentrations as follows: heart blood-210 ng/mL, femoral blood-255 ng/mL, urine-2,720 ng/mL and vitreous humor-140 ng/mL. Experimental conditions for screening and quantitation are provided, using immunoassay and GC/MS methods. Due to the recent emergence of acetyl fentanyl, more data will need to be generated to fully differentiate recreational and fatal concentrations of acetyl fentanyl to assist toxicologists accurately understanding its physiological impact.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / analysis*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / blood
  • Analgesics, Opioid / urine
  • Autopsy*
  • Calibration
  • Female
  • Fentanyl / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fentanyl / analysis
  • Fentanyl / blood
  • Fentanyl / urine
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Isotopes / standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Substance Abuse Detection / mortality*
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Isotopes
  • N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacetamide
  • Fentanyl