Forensic Drug Testing for Opiates. VI. Urine Testing for Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, Oxymorphone, and Oxycodone with Commercial Opiate Immunoassays and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

Michael L. Smith, Robert O. Hughes, Barry Levine, Sandra Dickerson, William D. Darwin, Edward J. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Opiate testing for morphine and codeine is performed routinely in forensic urine drug-testing laboratories in an effort to identify illicit opiate abusers. In addition to heroin, the 6-keto-opioids, including hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone, have high abuse liability and are self-administered by opiate abusers, but only limited information is available on detection of these compounds by current immunoassay and gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) methods. In this study, single doses of hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone were administered to human subjects, and urine samples were collected before and periodically after dosing. Opiate levels were determined in a quantitative mode with four commercial immunoassays, TDx® opiates (TDx), Abuscreen® radioimmunoassay (ABUS), Coat-A-Count® morphine in urine (CAC), and EMIT® d.a.u. Opiate assay (EMIT), and by GC-MS. GC-MS assay results indicated that hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone administration resulted in rapid excretion of parent drug and O-demethylated metabolites in urine. Peak concentrations occurred within 8 h after drug administration and declined below 300 ng/mL within 24-48 h. Immunoassay testing indicated that hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, but not oxymorphone, were detectable in urine by TDx and EMIT (300-ng/mL cutoff) for 6-24 h. ABUS detected only hydrocodone, and CAC failed to detect any of the four 6-keto-opioid analgesics. Generally, immunoassays for opiates in urine displayed substantially lower sensitivities for 6-keto-opioids compared with GC-MS. Consequently, urine samples containing low to moderate concentrations of hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone will likely go undetected when tested by conventional immunoassays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of analytical toxicology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety

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