Therapeutic drug monitoring

Quantitative determination of tricyclic antidepressants and their metabolites in plasma by solid-phase extraction (Bond-Elut TCA) and separation by capillary gas chromatography with nitrogen-phosphorous detection.

PMID 9631934


An analytical method for the simultaneous determination of amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine, desipramine, clomipramine, and desmethylclomipramine in human plasma using promazine as internal standard is described. The method is based on a solid-phase extraction procedure using the Bond-Elut TCA columns followed by separation and detection using capillary gas chromatography with a specific nitrogen phosphorous detector (GC/NPD). Using the new extraction procedure, the problem of adsorption losses was overcome, and good recoveries were achieved for all compounds tested (>87%). Furthermore, clean extracts free of chromatographic interferences were obtained. Complete separation of underivatized, tricyclic antidepressant compounds was achieved in <11 minutes with reliable chromatographic performance. The limits of detection ranged from 1.2 to 5.8 microg/l. Calibration curves, showing good linearity, were prepared covering the therapeutic concentrations range expected (20 to 500 microg/l). The interassay precision values (RSD) ranged from 4.5% to 9.8%. It is concluded that extraction of amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine, desipramine, clomipramine, and desmethylclomipramine, with Bond Elut TCA solid-phase columns followed by their detection using GC/NPD provides a sensitive and reproducible method that can be easily automated for immediate and routine analysis of clinical samples.