Determination of psychoactive drugs in serum using conductive vial electromembrane extraction combined with UHPLC-MS/MS

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2021 Oct 15;1183:122926. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2021.122926. Epub 2021 Sep 9.


Conductive vial electromembrane extraction (EME) with prototype equipment was applied for the first time to extract lipophilic basic drugs from serum. With this equipment, traditional platinum electrodes were replaced with sample and acceptor vials made from a conductive polymer, making the electrodes fully integrated and disposable. EME was combined with UHPLC-MS/MS, and a method to determine selected psychoactive drugs (alimemazine, amitriptyline, atomoxetine, clomipramine, doxepin, duloxetine, fluvoxamine, levomepromazine, nortriptyline and trimipramine) and metabolites (desmethyl clomipramine and desmethyl doxepin) in serum was developed, optimized, and validated. Extractions were carried out with 50 V for 15 min from serum samples (100 µL) diluted 1:3 with formic acid (0.1% v/v), using 2-nitrophenyl octyl ether as the supported liquid membrane (SLM), and formic acid (0.1% v/v, 300 µL) as acceptor phase. Using conductive vial EME, the extraction of lipophilic drugs reached exhaustive or near-exhaustive conditions, with recoveries in the range 75-117%. The method demonstrated excellent accuracy and precision, with bias within ± 6%, and intra- and inter-day CVs ranging 0.9 - 6% and 2 - 6%, respectively. In addition, acceptor phases were completely free of glycerophosphocholines. EME-UHPLC-MS/MS was successfully applied in determination of psychoactive drugs in 30 patient samples, and the results were in agreement with the current hospital routine method at St. Olav University Hospital (Trondheim, Norway). Obtaining comparable results to well-established routine methods is highly important for future implementation of EME into routine laboratories. These results thus serve as motivation for further advancing the EME technology. Until now, EME has been carried out with laboratory-build equipment, and the introduction of commercially available standardized equipment is expected to have a positive impact on future research activity.

Keywords: Antidepressants; Antipsychotics; Electromembrane extraction; Human serum; Sample preparation.