Methods for Confirmatory Analysis of Methamphetamine in Biological Samples

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Methamphetamine is the most common amphetamine used and, along with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy), is considered part of a worldwide drug epidemic. Monitoring metham-phetamine levels in the body is important for purposes of drug screening for employment, criminal investigations, and therapeutic drug monitoring. While methamphetamine is suitable for detection using immunoassay techniques, these methods tend to have significant cross reactivity with other compounds. Over the last decade, more than eighty different quantitative, confirmatory analytical methods for measuring methamphetamine in biological samples have been published in the scientific literature. Analytical instrumentation used in these methods includes gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), capillary electrophoresis (CE), among others. These assays are capable of quantifying methamphetamine concentrations in a variety of biological matrices, including blood, plasma, urine, hair, and fingernails. Some of these techniques can achieve detection as low as 0.1 ng/mL (1 ppb) concentra-tions. The strengths and limitations of these methodologies will be discussed in the context of methamphetamine analysis. Additionally, methods that can simultaneously measure methamphetamine levels as well as metabolites and other drugs of abuse will be highlighted.


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