Stereoselective urinary MDMA (ecstasy) and metabolites excretion kinetics following controlled MDMA administration to humans

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Graphical abstractThe R- and S-enantiomers of racemic 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) exhibit different dose–concentration curves. In plasma, S-MDMA was eliminated at a higher rate, most likely due to stereoselective metabolism. Similar data were shown in various in vitro experiments. The aim of the present study was the in vivo investigation of stereoselective elimination of MDMA's phase I and phase II metabolites in human urine following controlled oral MDMA administration. Urine samples from 10 participants receiving 1.0 and 1.6 mg/kg MDMA separated by at least one week were analyzed blind by liquid chromatography–high resolution-mass spectrometry and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry after chiral derivatization with S-heptafluorobutyrylprolyl chloride. R/S ratios at Cmax were comparable after low and high doses with ratios >1 for MDMA, free DHMA, and HMMA sulfate, and with ratios <1 for MDA, free HMMA, DHMA sulfate and HMMA glucuronide. In the five days after the high MDMA dose, a median of 21% of all evaluated compounds were excreted as R-stereoisomers and 17% as S-stereoisomers. Significantly greater MDMA, DHMA, and HMMA sulfate R-enantiomers and HMMA and HMMA glucuronide S-stereoisomers were excreted. No significant differences were observed for MDA and DHMA sulfate stereoisomers. Changes in R/S ratios could be observed over time for all analytes, with steady increases in the first 48 h. R/S ratios could help to roughly estimate time of MDMA ingestion and therefore, improve interpretation of MDMA and metabolite urinary concentrations in clinical and forensic toxicology.

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