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Novel illicit benzodiazepines are among the most active areas of new illicit drug manufacture and use. We describe a method for the detection and quantification of etizolam and its metabolite α-hydroxyetizolam, flubromazolam, clonazolam, diclazepam, delorazepam, bromazepam, flubromazepam, phenazepam, flualprazolam, flunitrazolam, and nitrazolam in human whole blood. After addition of internal standards, samples are buffered and extracted using a liquid-liquid extraction. Analysis is performed using positive-ion electrospray tandem mass spectrometry for detection and quantitation. Calibration ranges were established based on the method performance and differed from compound to compound. Replicates at the lowest calibration point for each compound performed within 5% of CV (Coefficient of Variation). The correlation coefficient was >0.990 for all compounds. Relative standard deviation for all compounds was ≤10% of CV and accuracy was  ±10% for both within- and between-run experiments. The maximum average intra- and inter-run imprecision were 5.7%. The maximum average intra- and inter-run imprecision was -8.7%. As part of evaluating the scope for relevancy, samples testing positive in immunoassay but confirmed to be negative in traditional benzodiazepine confirmation method were re-analyzed using this method. The presence of at least one novel benzodiazepine was identified in 70% of these samples. The appearance of these novel "designer" benzodiazepines demonstrates the challenge for toxicology testing and the need for continually updated confirmation methods. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


Rebecca A Mastrovito, Donna M Papsun, Barry K Logan. The Development and Validation of a Novel Designer Benzodiazepines Panel by LC-MS-MS. Journal of analytical toxicology. 2021 May 14;45(5):423-428

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PMID: 33476376

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