In this work, single particle aerosol mass spectrometry (SPAMS) was used to identify the active drug ingredients in samples of multicomponent over-the-counter (OTC) drug tablets with minimal damage to the tablets. OTC drug tablets in various formulations were analyzed including single active ingredient tablets and multi-ingredient tablets. Using a sampling apparatus developed in-house, micrometer-sized particles were simultaneously dislodged from tablets and introduced to the SPAMS, where dual-polarity mass spectra were obtained from individual particles. Active ingredients were identified from the parent ions and fragment ions formed from each sample, and alarm files were developed for each active ingredient, allowing successful automated identification of each compound in a mixture. The alarm algorithm developed for SPAMS correctly identified all drug compounds in all single-ingredient and multi-ingredient tablets studied. A further study demonstrated the ability of this technique to identify the active ingredient in a single tablet analyzed in the presence of several other nonidentical tablets. In situ measurements were also made by sampling directly from a drug sample in its original bottle. A single tablet embedded in 11 identical tablets of different composition was detected in this manner. Overall, this work demonstrates the ability of the SPAMS technique to detect a target drug compound both in complex tablets, i.e., multidrug ingredient tablets, and complex sampling environments, i.e., multitablet sampling sources. The technique is practically nondestructive, leaving the characteristic shape, color, and imprint of a tablet intact for further analysis. Applications of this technique may include forensic and pharmaceutical analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry