The atypical excretion profile of meldonium: Comparison of urinary detection windows after single- and multiple-dose application in healthy volunteers

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Following a one-year monitoring program providing unequivocal analytical evidence for a high prevalence in international elite sports, meldonium has been included in the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances that came into effect on 1 January 2016.

Despite of the polar and hydrophilic nature of the molecule, an unusual long detection window was observed in pilot elimination studies. Consequently, in the present study, urinary excretion profiles after single-dose (5 volunteers, 1 × 500 mg) and multiple-dose oral application (5 volunteers; 2 × 500 mg/day for 6 days) were determined in order to facilitate the result management concerning meldonium findings in doping controls. Particularly the option to differentiate between recent use and tapering concentrations was studied. Urinary meldonium concentrations were determined using an analytical approach based on hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography and high resolution tandem mass spectrometry. The study corroborates the hypothesis of a non-linear, dose-depended and biphasic excretion profile after oral application of meldonium and demonstrates that urinary detection windows are of considerable extent with up to 65 and 117 days (concentrations > LOQ of 10 ng/mL) following single- and multiple-dose applications, respectively.

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