A reliable and rapid tool for plasma quantification of 18 psychotropic drugs by ESI tandem mass spectrometry

Gennaro Vecchione, Bruno Casetta, Antonella Chiapparino, Alessandro Bertolino, Michela Tomaiuolo, Filomena Cappucci, Raffaella Gatta, Maurizio Margaglione, Elvira Grandone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A simple liquid chromatographic tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method has been developed for simultaneous analysis of 17 basic and one acid psychotropic drugs in human plasma. The method relies on a protein precipitation step for sample preparation and offers high sensitivity, wide linearity without interferences from endogenous matrix components. Chromatography was run on a reversed-phase column with an acetonitrile-H2O mixture. The quantification of target compounds was performed in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) and by switching the ionization polarity within the analytical run. A further sensitivity increase was obtained by implementing the functionality "scheduled multiple reaction monitoring" (sMRM) offered by the recent version of the software package managing the instrument. The overall injection interval was less than 5.5. min. Regression coefficients of the calibration curves and limits of quantification (LOQ) showed a good coverage of over-therapeutic, therapeutic and sub-therapeutic ranges. Recovery rates, measured as percentage of recovery of spiked plasma samples, were ≥94%. Precision and accuracy data have been satisfactory for a therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) service as for managing plasma samples from patients receiving psycho-pharmacological treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • LC-MS/MS
  • Poly-pharmacy
  • Protein precipitation
  • Psychotropic drugs
  • SMRM
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Spectroscopy
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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