Can opiates in human urine be quantitated both quickly and accurately using high resolution mass spectrometry? With Orbitrap HR/AM mass spectrometry, precision doesn’t need to be sacrificed for speed.

Overview: Forensic toxicologists perform analysis of human urine to search for the presence of illegal and controlled substances, including opiates such as morphine or oxycodone. These analyses can play a part in law enforcement decisions; thus it’s critical that test results be highly precise. With a large number of samples to analyze, it’s also important for the process to be speedy and efficient.

Method: Using a Thermo Scientific Q Exactive Focus Hybrid Quadrupole-Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer, six opiates in human urine samples are quantified down to low ng/mL levels. Opiates include morphine, codeine, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone. The method precision and accuracy were evaluated by running a calibration curve and quintuplicate replicates of quality controls on three different days.

Table 1. Inter-assay precision and bias.

5ng/mL% RSD3.823.673.897.542.783.43
% Bias-
10ng/mL% RSD4.136.062.794.353.352.78
% Bias-7.00-3.47-0.20-6.15-5.24-3.60
100ng/mL% RSD3.
% Bias7.435.51-0.160.985.340.26
1000ng/mL% RSD3.634.211.352.521.992.29
% Bias6.073.643.534.675.442.86

Results: The Q Exactive Focus MS accurately quantitated all six opiates tested. The average recovery across 58 donor urine samples obtained from a collaborator laboratory ranged from 69% to 81% for the six internal standards evaluated. The Q Exactive Focus MS is a versatile instrument capable of both screening large panels and quantitative confirmation of specific panels.

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