Enantioselective analysis of citalopram and demethylcitalopram in human whole blood by chiral LC-MS/MS and application in forensic cases

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Citalopram is one of the most frequently used antidepressants in Denmark. Citalopram is marketed as a racemic mixture (50:50) of S- and R-enantiomers as well as of the S-enantiomer alone, which is the active enantiomer named escitalopram that processes the inhibitory effects. In this study, a chiral liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method is developed for the measurement of citalopram and demethylcitalopram enantiomers in whole blood and is applied to forensic cases. Whole blood samples (0.10 g) were extracted with butyl acetate after adjusting the pH with 2 M NaOH. The analytes were separated on a 250 x 4.6 mm Chirobiotic V, 5 µm column by isocratic elution with methanol:ammonia:acetic acid (1000:1:1) using an ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC) system. Quantification was performed by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) using multiple reaction monitoring in the positive mode. The total chromatographic run time was 20 min. The limit of detection (LOD) and quantification (LOQ) were 0.001 and 0.005 mg/kg of all four enantiomers, respectively. Linear behaviour was obtained for all four enantiomers from LOQ to 0.50 mg/kg blood with absolute recoveries from 71 to 80%. The method showed an acceptable precision and accuracy as the obtained coefficient of variation, and bias values were ≤ 16% for all enantiomers. After the validation of the method, a correlation with the racemic method was assessed and found to be acceptable. Then, the method was successfully applied to authentic blood samples from forensic investigations demonstrating that escitalopram was less frequent than citalopram among all forensic cases.

TidsskriftDrug Testing and Analysis
Udgave nummer10
Sider (fra-til)1549–1554
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2017

ID: 173478182