Distribution of Enantiomers of Methadone and Its Main Metabolite EDDP in Human Tissues and Blood of Postmortem Cases

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Knowledge concerning the distribution of methadone in postmortem human tissue and the effect of postmortem redistribution on methadone is today limited making the choice of a suitable substitute for femoral blood difficult when this is not available. Cardiac blood, femoral blood, muscle, and brain tissue concentrations of the enantiomers of methadone and its metabolite 2-ethyl-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolinium were recorded for 155 postmortem cases. Brain and muscle tissue concentrations exceeded the femoral blood concentrations with a median fold of 2.3 and 1.6, respectively, but both had a better correlation than cardiac blood to femoral blood concentrations. The Kruskal–Wallis test showed a significant dependency on time and body mass index for some of the matrix ratios over femoral blood. We conclude brain or muscle tissue may constitute a better alternative for measurement of methadone than cardiac blood for situations in which femoral blood is not available, despite concentrations in both matrices being systematically higher.

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