Current hair testing methods that rely solely on quantification of parent drug compounds are unable to definitively distinguish between drug use and external contamination. One possible solution to this problem is to confirm the presence of unique drug metabolites that cannot be present through contamination, such as phase II glucuronide conjugates. This work demonstrates for the first time that codeine-6-glucuronide, hydromorphone-3-glucuronide, oxymorphone-3-glucuronide, morphine-3-glucuronide and morphine-6-glucuronide are present at sufficient concentrations to be quantifiable in hair of opioid users and that their concentrations generally increase as the concentrations of the corresponding parent compounds increase. Here, we present a validated liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method to quantify codeine-6-glucuronide, dihydrocodeine-6-glucuronide, hydromorphone-3-glucuronide, morphine-3-glucuronide, morphine-6-glucuronide, oxymorphone-3-glucuronide, codeine, dihydrocodeine, dihydromorphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone and 6-acetylmorphine in human hair. The method was used to analyze 46 human hair samples from known drug users that were confirmed positive for opioids by an independent laboratory. Glucuronide concentrations in samples positive for parent analytes ranged from similar to 1 to 25 pg/mg, and most samples had glucuronide concentrations in the range of similar to 1 to 5 pg/mg. Relative to the parent concentrations, the average concentrations of the four detected glucuronides were as follows: codeine-6-glucuronide, 2.33%; hydromorphone-3-glucuronide, 0.94%; oxymorphone-3-glucuronide, 0.77%; morphine 3-glucuronide, 0.59%; and morphine-6-glucuronide, 0.93%.
Detection and quantification of codeine-6-glucuronide, hydromorphone-3-glucuronide, oxymorphone-3-glucuronide, morphine 3-glucuronide and morphine-6-glucuronide in human hair from opioid users by LC-MS-MS
Grabenauer, M., Bynum, N. D., Moore, K. N., White, R. M., Mitchell, J. M., Hayes, E. D., & Flegel, R. (2018). Detection and quantification of codeine-6-glucuronide, hydromorphone-3-glucuronide, oxymorphone-3-glucuronide, morphine 3-glucuronide and morphine-6-glucuronide in human hair from opioid users by LC-MS-MS. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 42(2), 115-125. https://doi.org/10.1093/jat/bkx086