Determination of the total drug-related chlorine and bromine contents in human blood plasma using high performance liquid chromatography–tandem ICP-mass spectrometry (HPLC–ICP-MS/MS)

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A fast, accurate and precise method for the separation and determination of the total contents of drug-related Cl and Br in human blood plasma, based on high performance liquid chromatography – inductively coupled plasma – tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC–ICP-MS/MS), has been developed. The novel approach was proved to be a suitable alternative to the presently used standard methodology (i.e. based on a radiolabelled version of the drug molecule and radiodetection), while eliminating the disadvantages of the latter. Interference-free determination of 35Cl has been accomplished via ICP-MS/MS using H2 as reaction gas and monitoring the 35ClH2+ reaction product at mass-to-charge ratio of 37. Br could be measured “on mass” at a mass-to-charge of 79. HPLC was relied on for the separation of the drug-related entities from the substantial amount of inorganic Cl. The method developed was found to be sufficiently precise (repeatability <10% RSD) and accurate (recovery between 95 and 105%) and shows a linear dynamic range (R2 > 0.990) from the limit of quantification (0.05 and 0.01 mg/L for Cl and Br in blood plasma, respectively) to at least 5 and 1 mg/L for Cl and Br, respectively. Quantification via either external or internal standard calibration provides reliable results for both elements. As a proof-of-concept, human blood plasma samples from a clinical study involving a newly developed Cl- and Br-containing active pharmaceutical ingredient were analysed and the total drug exposure was successfully described. Cross-validation was achieved by comparing the results obtained on Cl- and on Br-basis.

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