Comprehensive drug screening by integrated use of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and remedi HS

Antonella Valli, Aldo Polettini, Piero Papa, Maria Montagna

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The authors evaluated an integrated approach for the screening of drugs in biosamples consisting of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of serum or whole blood (SB/GC-MS) and of high-performance liquid chromatographic and ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) analysis of urine with the REMEDi HS Biorad system (U/REM) (Bio-rad; Segrate, MI, Italy). Urine and blood samples from 26 suspected intoxicated patients and from 22 suspected lethal poisoning cases were examined. Eighty-one of the 99 parent drugs/main metabolites detected were identified by SB/GC-MS and 54 with U/REM. Thirty-six drugs/metabolites were identified with both methods, 45 by SB/GC-MS alone, and 18 by U/REM alone. Absence of the mass spectrometry (MS) spectra in the reference library and high polarity of the analytes were the main reasons for failed identification by SB/GC-MS. Unsuccessful identifications with U/REM were basically caused by the absence of the UV spectra in the reference library or by low chromatographic and spectroscopic selectivity as in the case of barbiturates and benzodiazepines (BZD), which represented 11% and 51%, respectively, of the 45 SB/GC-MS unique identifications. Urine samples of 14 BZD-positive cases were also submitted to enzymatic hydrolysis and analyzed with the REMEDi UBz assay, and results were compared with those obtained by SB/GC-MS: 14 of the 22 identified BZD were detected with both methods, three by U/REM only, and five by SB/GC-MS only. In conclusion, the integrated use of SB/GC-MS and U/REM approaches greatly enhances the amount and quality of analytical information obtainable by applying either method alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-294
Number of pages8
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


  • Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • Remedi HS
  • Toxicologic screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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