Therapeutic drug monitoring of carbamazepine and its metabolite in children from dried blood spots using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry

Engy Shokry, Fabio Villanelli, Sabrina Malvagia, Anna Rosati, Giulia Forni, Silvia Funghini, Daniela Ombrone, Maria Della Bona, Renzo Guerrini, Giancarlo La Marca

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Carbamazepine (CBZ) is a first-line drug for the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and the first choice drug for trigeminal neuralgia. CBZ is metabolized in the liver by oxidation into carbamazepine-10,11-epoxide (CBZE), its major metabolite which is equipotent and known to contribute to the pharmacological activity of CBZ. The aim of the present study was to develop and validate a reliable, selective and sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for the simultaneous quantification of CBZ and its active metabolite in dried blood spots (DBS). The extraction process was carried out from DBS using methanol-water-formic acid (80:20:0.1, v/v/v). Chromatographic elution was achieved by using a linear gradient with a mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile-water-0.1% formic acid at a flow rate of 0.50. mL/min. The method was linear over the range 1-40. mg/L and 0.25-20. mg/L for CBZ and CBZE, respectively. The limit of quantification was 0.75. mg/L and 0.25. mg/L for CBZ and CBZE. Intra-day and inter-day assay precisions were found to be lower than 5.13%, 6.46% and 11.76%, 4.72% with mean percentage accuracies of 102.1%, 97.5% and 99.2%, 97.8% for CBZ and CBZE. We successfully applied the method for determining DBS finger-prick samples in paediatric patients and confirmed the results with concentrations measured in matched plasma samples. This novel approach allows quantification of CBZ and its metabolite from only one 3.2. mm DBS disc by LC-MS/MS thus combining advantages of DBS technique and LC-MS/MS in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015



  • Carbamazepine
  • Carbamazepine-10,11-epoxide
  • Dried blood spots
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Spectroscopy
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)

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