Analysis of MT-45, a Novel Synthetic Opioid, in Human Whole Blood by LC-MS-MS and Its Identification in a Drug-Related Death

Donna Papsun1, Alison Krywanczyk2, James C. Vose3, Elizabeth A. Bundock4, and Barry K. Logan1,5

1NMS Labs, 2300 Welsh Rd. Willow Grove, PA, USA, 2Department of Pathology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Avenue, Burlington, VT, USA, 3Vermont Forensic Laboratory, P.O. Box 47, Waterbury, VT, USA, 4Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT, USA, and 5The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE), 2300 Welsh Rd. Willow Grove, PA, USA


The article Analysis of MT-45, a Novel Synthetic Opioid, in Human Whole Blood by LC-MS-MS and Its Identification in a Drug-Related Death appears in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2016;40:313-317 doi: 10.1093/jatlbkw012. Abstract is included below.

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ABSTRACT: MT-45 (1-cyclohexyl-4-(1,2-diphenylethyl)piperazine) is just one of the many novel psychoactive substances (NPS) to have reached the recreational drug market in the twenty-first century; it is how¬ ever, one of the first designer opioids to achieve some degree of popularity, in a market currently dominated by synthetic cannabinoids and designer stimulants. A single fatality involving MT-45 and etizolam is described. A method for the quantitation of MT-45 in whole blood using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was developed and validated. The linear range was determined to be 1.0-100 ng/mlwith a detection limit of 1.0 ng/ml, and the method met the requirements for acceptable linearity, precision and accuracy. After analyzing the sample on dilution and by standard addition, the concentration of MT-45 in the decedent's blood was determined to be 520 ng/ml, consistent with other concentrations of MT-45 reported in drug-related fatalities. Etizolam was present at a concentration of 35 ng/ml. This case illustrates the importance of considering non-traditional drugs in unexplained apparent drug-related deaths.

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