Journal Article

Analysis of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its Metabolites in Plasma and Urine by HPLC-DAD and GC-MS

Hans-Jörg Helmlin, Katrin Bracher, Daniel Bourquin, David Vonlanthen, Rudolf Brenneisen and Juraj Styk

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 20, issue 6, pages 432-440
Published in print October 1996 | ISSN: 0146-4760
e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
Analysis of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its Metabolites in Plasma and Urine by HPLC-DAD and GC-MS

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In Europe, the compound 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy, Adam), in addition to cannabis, is the most abused illicit drug at all-night “techno” parties. Methods for the determination of MDMA and its metabolites, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA), 3,4-dihydroxymethamphetamine (HHMA), 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyamphetamine (HMA), and 3,4-dihydroxyamphetamine (HHA), in biological fluids were established. Plasma and urine samples were collected from two patients in a controlled clinical study over periods of 9 and 22 h, respectively. MDMA and MDA were determined in plasma and urine by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection (HPLC-DAD) after solid-phase extraction on cation-exchange columns. Acidic or enzymatic hydrolysis was necessary to detect HMMA, HMA, HHMA, and HHA, which are mainly excreted as glucuronides. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used for confirmation. Sample extraction and on-disc derivatization with heptafluorobutyric anhydride (HFBA) were performed on Toxi-Lab SPEC solid-phase extraction concentrators. After administration of a single oral dose of 1.5 mg/kg body weight MDMA, peak plasma levels of 331 ng/mL MDMA and 15 ng/mL MDA were measured after 2 h and 6.3 h, respectively. Peak concentrations of 28.1 µg/mL MDMA in urine appeared after 21.5 h. Up to 2.3 µg/mL MDA, 35.1 µg/mL HMMA, and 2.1 µg/mL HMA were measured within 16–21.5 h. Conjugated HMMA and HHMA are the main urinary metabolites of MDMA.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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