Development and validation of a method for analysing of duloxetine, venlafaxine and amitriptyline in human bone

Lucia Fernandez-Lopez, Manuela Pellegrini, Maria Concetta Rotolo, Aurelio Luna Maldonado, Maria Falcon, Rosanna Mancini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A method based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is described for the determination of venlafaxine, amitriptyline and duloxetine in human bone. Pulverized samples were incubated in methanol for 1 h under ultrasonication, after the addition of sertraline as internal standard. The samples were centrifuged, and the supernatants were evaporated. Samples were then resuspended in 0.1 M phosphate buffer pH 6 and subjected to solid phase extraction. Chromatography was performed on a fused silica capillary column and analytes were determined in the selected-ion-monitoring (SIM) mode. The assay was validated in the range 0.3-1 ng/mg (depending on the drug) to 500 ng/mg. The mean absolute recoveries ranged from 92.6% to 96.2%, the matrix effect from 76.9% to 103.3% and process efficiency from 74% to 95.9% depending on the analyte. The intra- and inter-assay accuracy values were always better than 20%. The validated method was then successfully applied to real bone samples from forensic cases in which toxicological analysis for these drugs in blood had been positive. Drugs were detected in bone in all blood positive results, the approximate concentrations being 36.4 ng/mg for amitriptyline, 19.3-3 ng/mg for duloxetine and 4.6-2 ng/mg for venlafaxine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amitriptyline/analysis
  • Antidepressive Agents/analysis
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride/analysis
  • Female
  • Forensic Toxicology/methods
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry/methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ribs/chemistry
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Venlafaxine Hydrochloride/analysis


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