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A bioanalytical method for the analysis of piperaquine in human plasma using off-line solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. It was found that a mobile phase with high pH (i.e. 10) led to better sensitivity than mobile phase combinations with low pH (i.e. 2.5-4.5) despite the use of positive electrospray and a basic analyte. The method was validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as R.S.D., were lower than 7% at all tested concentrations (4.5, 20, 400 and 500ng/mL) and below 10% at the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) (1.5ng/mL). The calibration range was 1.5-500ng/mL with a limit of detection (LOD) at 0.38ng/mL. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range. Matrix effects were thoroughly evaluated both graphically and quantitatively. Matrix effects originating from the sample clean-up (i.e. solid-phase extraction) procedure rather than the plasma background were responsible for the ion suppression seen in this study. Salts remaining from the buffers used in the solid-phase extraction suppressed the signals for both piperaquine and its deuterated internal standard. This had no effect on the quantification of piperaquine. Triethylamine residues remaining after evaporation of the solid-phase extraction eluate were found to suppress the signals for piperaquine and its deuterated internal standard differently. It was found that this could lead to an underestimation of the true concentration with 50% despite the use of a deuterated internal standard.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

Publication Date





227 - 236


Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.


Isotopes, Quinolines, Antimalarials, Calibration, Chromatography, Liquid, Sensitivity and Specificity, Reference Standards, Tandem Mass Spectrometry