63Ni electron-capture gas chromatographic assay for buprenorphine and metabolites in human urine and feces

Edward J. Cone, Charles W. Gorodetzky, David Yousefnejad, William D. Darwin

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39 Scopus citations


A 63 Ni electron-capture gas chromatographic assay is described for buprenorphine, a potent narcotic agonist--antagonist. In addition, the assay is useful for the measurement of the metabolite norbuprenorphine and demethoxybuprenorphine, a rearrangement product resulting when buprenorphine is exposed to acid and heat. An extraction procedure was developed which optimized recovery of buprenorphine from biological samples and produced minimal background interferences and emulsion problems. Extract residues were derivatized with pentafluoropropionic anhydride and assayed by gas chromatography. Samples were analyzed with and without enzyme hydrolysis, thus providing a selective and sensitive assay for both free and conjugated buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine and demethoxybuprenorphine. The lower limits of detection following extraction of a 1-ml sample were ca. 10 ng/ml for buprenorphine and demethoxybuprenorphine and 5 ng/ml for norbuprenorphine. Application of the assay to human samples following a 40-mg oral dose of buprenorphine produced no evidence for the presence of demethoxybuprenorphine in urine or feces. Norbuprenorphine (free and conjugated) was present in urinary and fecal samples; buprenorphine (free and conjugated) was found in high amounts only in feces and in trace amounts in urine as conjugated buprenorphine. The urinary and fecal excretion pattern observed for a human subject following oral dosing of buprenorphine suggests enterohepatic circulation of buprenophrine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-300
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Biomedical Sciences and Applications
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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