Journal Article

The Use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the Detection of Drug Intoxication*

Eva M. Komoroski, Richard A. Komoroski, Jimmie L. Valentine, John M. Pearce and Gregory L. Kearns

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 24, issue 3, pages 180-187
Published in print April 2000 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online April 2000 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/24.3.180
The Use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the Detection of Drug Intoxication*

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The use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as a method for drug analysis has the advantages of reduced pre-analytical preparation time and the potential to detect and quantitate drug conjugates and metabolites simultaneously. NMR was investigated as a method to screen for organic substances (and metabolites) in 25 patients who presented to the Emergency Department with clinical indications of a drug overdose. Urine specimens were examined by 1H NMR spectroscopy at 300 MHz and the results compared with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) results. There was a 56% concordance (14 of 25 samples) between NMR and GC-MS. NMR identified acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, valproate, carbamazepine, and pseudoephedrine as parent compounds or metabolites. For a patient for whom GC-MS results were negative, NMR strongly suggested the presence of erythromycin. NMR was most successful in identifying analgesics and antiepileptic drugs (sensitivity 83–100%). In 10 patients, signals from 1,2-propanediol, a common vehicle for some pediatric medications, were observed by NMR spectroscopy. NMR had 0% sensitivity in identifying tricyclic antidepressants and antipsycbotic drugs. In these samples, GC-MS detected a variety of compounds, including tricyclic antidepressants and their metabolites and chlorpromazine. In addition, other substances that had not been disclosed as having been ingested, such as caffeine, diphenhydramine, and nicotine, were detected by GC-MS. NMR spectroscopy represents an emerging supplementary analytical technique that is applicable to a wide range of possible intoxicants and to the evaluation of the intoxicated patient, particularly when larger amounts of the intoxicant (> 200 mg) are ingested.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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