Dried Blood Spots Combined With Ultra–High-Performance Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry for the Quantification of the Antipsychotics Risperidone, Aripiprazole, Pipamperone, and Their Major Metabolites

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Risperidone, aripiprazole, and pipamperone are antipsychotic drugs frequently prescribed for the treatment of comorbid behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorders. Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) could be useful to decrease side effects and to improve patient outcome. Dried blood spot (DBS) sample collection seems to be an attractive technique to develop TDM of these drugs in a pediatric population. The aim of this work was to develop and validate a DBS assay suitable for TDM and home sampling.


Risperidone, 9-OH risperidone, aripiprazole, dehydroaripiprazole, and pipamperone were extracted from DBS and analyzed by ultra–high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry using a C18 reversed-phase column with a mobile phase consisting of ammonium acetate/formic acid in water or methanol. The suitability of DBS for TDM was assessed by studying the influence of specific parameters: extraction solution, EDTA carryover, hematocrit, punching location, spot volume, and hemolysis. The assay was validated with respect to conventional guidelines for bioanalytical methods.


The method was linear, specific without any critical matrix effect, and with a mean recovery around 90%. Accuracy and imprecision were within the acceptance criteria in samples with hematocrit values from 30% to 45%. EDTA or hemolysis did not skew the results, and no punching carryover was observed. No significant influence of the spot volume or the punch location was observed. The antipsychotics were all stable in DBS stored 10 days at room temperature and 1 month at 4 or −80°C. The method was successfully applied to quantify the 3 antipsychotics and their metabolites in patient samples.


A UHPLC-MS/MS method has been successfully validated for the simultaneous quantification of risperidone, 9-OH risperidone, aripiprazole, dehydroaripiprazole, and pipamperone in DBS. The assay provided good analytical performances for TDM and clinical research applications.

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