Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Quantitative analysis of hair samples for 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP) using high-performance liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) detection.

PMID 21761107


Benzylpiperazine (BZP) is an amphetamine-type stimulant, which was legally available in New Zealand and widely used in "Party Pills" until reclassification as a Class C drug in April 2008. BZP was included as part of a multi-analyte method developed for hair screening using high-performance liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A 20-mg sample of hair is extracted and partially purified using mixed-mode solid-phase extraction cartridges prior to analysis by LC-MS/MS. The method was developed as a broad screen for drugs of abuse (including amphetamines, opiates, and benzodiazepines), with only the BZP results being presented here. The assay was validated and found to be linear over the range of 0.085 to 8.65 ng/mg with correlation coefficient of r (2) ≥ 0.99. Blank hair samples spiked with BZP at 0.22 and 2.16 ng/mg gave intra- and inter-day precision coefficients of variation of ≤10% (n = 6 per day, 3 days) at both levels and calculated extraction efficiencies of 78% and 91%, respectively. The results from the samples submitted to the laboratory for BZP analysis showed 11% were positive (n = 126). The mean BZP level was 3.9 ng/mg (range, 0.4-33 ng/mg; the result was extrapolated when above the calibration). These data are the first available showing the levels expected from users of BZP.