Antiretrovirals: Simultaneous Determination of Five Protease Inhibitors and Three Nonnucleoside Transcriptase Inhibitors in Human Plasma by a Rapid High-Performance Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry Assay

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An analytical technique using liquid chromatography (LC) coupled with electrospray–mass spectrometry (ESI–MS) has been developed for the simultaneous determination of five protease inhibitors (PIs): saquinavir, indinavir, ritonavir, nelfinavir, and amprenavir; and three non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs): nevirapine, delavirdine, and efavirenz, in human plasma. This assay allows the elution and identification of these drugs in a single run (10 minutes) using a linear gradient with water and acetonitrile. The procedure involves liquid–liquid extraction. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation was achieved on a C18 reversed-phase column, with a linear gradient elution followed by mass spectrometry detection. The calibration curves, obtained by automatic process peak area integration, show a good linearity in a range of concentrations between 20 and 10,000 ng/mL (40–10,000 ng/mL for efavirenz). The limit of detection was approximately 10 ng/mL for seven drugs (25 ng/mL for efavirenz). The coefficients of variation (CV) were always less than 15% for both intraday and interday precision for each compound. The recovery of the eight drugs ranged from 88.5% to 100%. This novel LC/ESI–MS assay provides an excellent method for simultaneous quantitative monitoring of different components of the highly active antiretroviral treatments (HAARTs) in patients treated simultaneously with PIs and NNRTIs, and it has been successfully applied to therapeutic drug monitoring and pharmacokinetic studies.

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