Determination of salbutamol and salbutamol glucuronide in human urine by means of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Ute Mareck, Sven Guddat, Anne Schwenke, Simon Beuck, Hans Geyer, Ulrich Flenker, Jimmi Elers, Vibeke Backer, Mario Thevis, Wilhelm Schänzer
Drug Testing and Analysis 2011, 3 (11-12): 820-7
The determination of salbutamol and its glucuronide in human urine following the inhalative and oral administration of therapeutic doses of salbutamol preparations was performed by means of direct urine injection utilizing liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and employing d(3)-salbutamol and d(3)-salbutamol glucuronide as internal standards. Unconjugated salbutamol was detected in all administration study urine samples. Salbutamol concentrations following inhalation were commonly (99%) below 1000 ng/ml whereas values after oral administration frequently (48%) exceeded this threshold. While salbutamol glucuronide was not detected in urine samples collected after inhalation of the drug, 26 out of 82 specimens obtained after oral application contained salbutamol glucuronide with a peak value of 63 ng/ml. The percentage of salbutamol glucuronide compared to unconjugated salbutamol was less than 3%. Authentic doping control urine samples indicating screening results for salbutamol less than 1000 ng/ml, showed salbutamol glucuronide concentrations between 2 and 6 ng/ml, whereas adverse analytical findings resulting from salbutamol levels higher than 1000 ng/ml, had salbutamol glucuronide values between 8 and 15 ng/ml. The approach enabled the rapid determination of salbutamol and its glucuronic acid conjugate in human urine and represents an alternative to existing procedures since time-consuming hydrolysis or derivatization steps were omitted. Moreover, the excretion of salbutamol glucuronide in human urine following the administration of salbutamol was proven.

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