Journal of analytical toxicology

Zaleplon (Sonata) analysis in postmortem specimens by gas chromatography-electron capture detection.

PMID 19874656


Zaleplon (Sonata) is a sedative hypnotic prescription medication used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Although Zaleplon was approved by the FDA in 1999, there has been limited postmortem information about the drug cited in the toxicology literature. Zaleplon was separated from postmortem biological specimens utilizing liquid-liquid extraction coupled with a solid-phase extraction technique, and detection was accomplished by a gas chromatography-electron capture detector. The method was linear from 5.0 to 150 ng/mL with the limit of quantitation and detection determined to be 3.0 and 0.50 ng/mL, respectively. The postmortem tissue distribution of zaleplon in seven cases was as follows: 6.1-1490 ng/mL central blood (seven cases), < 3.0-503 ng/mL femoral blood (five cases), 108 ng/mL harvest blood (one case), 343-679 ng/g liver (four cases), 950 ng/g spleen (one case), < 3.0-85 ng/mL bile (three cases), 3.8-106 ng/mL urine (four cases), < 3.0-486 ng/mL vitreous humor (five cases), and 0.005-3.4 mg total gastric contents (four cases). A validated method for the analysis of zaleplon and postmortem concentrations of autopsy specimens are reported to aid the forensic toxicologist with interpretation of future casework.

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