Improved one-step solid-phase extraction method for morphine, morphine-3-glucuronide, and morphine-6-glucuronide from plasma and quantitation using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection

Ther Drug Monit. 1998 Apr;20(2):215-8. doi: 10.1097/00007691-199804000-00013.


This communication describes an improved one-step solid-phase extraction method for the recovery of morphine (M), morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), and morphine-6-glucuronide (M6G) from human plasma with reduced coextraction of endogenous plasma constituents, compared to that of the authors' previously reported method. The magnitude of the peak caused by endogenous plasma components in the chromatogram that eluted immediately before the retention time of M3G has been reduced (approximately 80%) significantly (p < 0.01) while achieving high extraction efficiencies for the compounds of interest, viz morphine, M6G, and M3G (93.8 +/- 2.5, 91.7 +/- 1.7, and 93.1 +/- 2.2%, respectively). Furthermore, when the improved solid-phase extraction method was used, the extraction cartridge-derived late-eluting peak (retention time 90 to 100 minutes) reported in our previous method, was no longer present in the plasma extracts. Therefore the combined effect of reducing the recovery of the endogenous components of plasma that chromatographed just before the retention time of M3G and the removal of the late-eluting, extraction cartridge-derived peak has resulted in a decrease in the chromatographic run-time to 20 minutes, thereby increasing the sample throughput by up to 100%.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / blood*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / isolation & purification
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Morphine / blood*
  • Morphine / isolation & purification
  • Morphine Derivatives / blood
  • Morphine Derivatives / isolation & purification*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Morphine Derivatives
  • morphine-6-glucuronide
  • Morphine
  • morphine-3-glucuronide