UHPLC-MS/MS and UHPLC-HRMS identification of zolpidem and zopiclone main urinary metabolites and method development for their toxicological determination

Sabina Strano Rossi, Luca Anzillotti, Erika Castrignano', Marcello Chiarotti, Giampietro Frison, Flavio Zancanaro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

9 Citazioni (Scopus)


Zolpidem and zopiclone (Z-compounds) are non-benzodiazepine hypnotics of new generation that can be used in drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA). Their determination in biological fluids, mainly urine, is of primary importance; nevertheless, although they are excreted almost entirely as metabolites, available methods deal mainly with the determination of the unmetabolized drug. This paper describes a method for the determination in urine of Z-compounds and their metabolites by ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) and UHPLC coupled with high resolution/high accuracy Orbitrap® mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS). The metabolic profile was studied on real samples collected from subjects in therapy with zolpidem or zopiclone; the main urinary metabolites were identified and their MS behaviour studied by MS/MS and HRMS. Two carboxy- and three hydroxy- metabolites, that could be also detected by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) as trimethylsylyl derivatives, have been identified for zolpidem. Also, at least one dihydroxilated metabolite was detected. As for zopiclone, the two main metabolites detected were N-demethyl and N-oxide zopiclone. For both substances, the unmetabolized compounds were excreted in low amounts in urine. In consideration of these data, a UHPLC-MS/MS method for the determination of Z-compounds and their main metabolites after isotopic dilution with deuterated analogues of zolpidem and zopiclone and direct injection of urine samples was set up. The proposed UHPLC-MS/MS method appears to be practically applicable for the analysis of urine samples in analytical and forensic toxicology cases, as well as in cases of suspected DFSA. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)226-233
Numero di pagine8
RivistaDrug Testing and Analysis
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • 3003
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Azabicyclo Compounds
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • GC-MS
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • LC-HR-MS
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Limit of Detection
  • Metabolites
  • Piperazines
  • Pyridines
  • Spectroscopy
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Zolpidem
  • Zopiclone


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