Journal Article

Profiles of Urine Samples Taken from Ecstasy Users at Rave Parties: Analysis by Immunoassays, HPLC, and GC-MS

Huiru Zhao, Rudolf Brenneisen, Andre Scholer, A.J. McNally, Mahmoud A. ElSohly, Timothy P. Murphy and Salvatore J. Salamone

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 25, issue 4, pages 258-269
Published in print May 2001 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online May 2001 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/25.4.258
Profiles of Urine Samples Taken from Ecstasy Users at Rave Parties: Analysis by Immunoassays, HPLC, and GC-MS

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The abuse of the designer amphetamines such as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) is increasing throughout the world. They have become popular drugs, especially at all-night techno dance parties (Raves), and their detection is becoming an important issue. Presently, there are no MDMA- or MDA-specific immunoassays on the market, and detection of the designer amphetamines is dependent upon the use of commercially available amphetamine assays. The success of this approach has been difficult to assess because of the general unavailability of significant numbers of samples from known drug users. The objectives of the present study are to characterize the drug content of urine samples from admitted Ecstasy users by chromatographic methods and to assess the ability of the available amphetamine/methamphetamine immunoassays to detect methylenedioxyamphetamines. We found that, when analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection (HPLC-DAD), 64% of 70 urine samples (by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry [GC-MS]: 88% of 64 urine samples) obtained from Rave attendees contained MDMA and/or 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) alone or in combination with amphetamine, methamphetamine, or other designer amphetamines such as 3,4-methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA). This suggests that the majority of the Ravers are multi-drug users. At the manufacturer's suggested cutoffs, the Abbott TDx Amphetamine/Methamphetamine II and the new Roche HS Amphetamine/MDMA assays demonstrated greater detection sensitivity for MDMA than the other amphetamine immunoassays tested (Abuscreen OnLine Hitachi AMPS, Abuscreen OnLine Integra AMPS, Abuscreen OnLine Integra AMPSX, CEDIA AMPS, and EMIT II AMPS). There is 100% agreement between each of the two immunoassays with the reference chromatographic methods, HPLC-DAD and GC-MS, for the detection of methylenedioxyamphetamines.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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