Semi‐quantitative analysis of tramadol, dextromethorphan, and metabolites in decomposed skeletal tissues by ultra performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Dec 18, 2017
  • Author: H. M. Cornthwaite, L. Labine, J. H. Watterson
  • Journal: Drug Testing and Analysis


The use of filtration/pass‐through extraction (FPTE) and ultra‐performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry (UPLC–qTOF–MS) to detect tramadol (TRAM), dextromethorphan (DXM), and metabolites from skeletal remains is described. Rats (n=5) received 50 mg/kg tramadol and were euthanized by CO2 asphyxiation approximately 30 minutes post‐dose. Rats (n=4) received 75 mg/kg dextromethorphan and were euthanized by CO2 asphyxiation approximately 45 minutes post‐dose. Remains decomposed to skeleton outdoors and vertebral bones were collected. Bones were cleaned, dried, and pulverized to a fine powder. Bones underwent dynamic methanolic extraction followed by FPTE before analysis using UPLC–qTOF–MS. Recovery was at least 90% of maximal value within the first 10 minutes of methanolic extraction for all samples assayed. Analytical response was measured over the concentration range of 1–500 ng/mL, with precision and bias <20% in triplicate analyses of all calibrators, and a limit of detection of 1 ng/mL for TRAM, DXM, and all metabolites. The vertebral bone analyzed using this method detected TRAM, DXM, and their respective metabolites in all samples analyzed.

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