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Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.. (2/2/09). "Press Release: Effective Pseudoephedrine Identification in Illicit Drug Mixtures". San José, CA.

Organisation Organisation Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO)
  Group Thermo Fisher (Group)
Products Product Accela™ high speed chromotographic system (Thermo Scientific)
  Product 2 MSQ Plus single quadrupole LC/MS detection system

Thermo Fisher Scientific Ensures Effective Pseudoephedrine Identification In Illicit Drug Mixtures using UHPLC/MS

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, introduces a new application note that demonstrates a fast and reliable UHPLC/MS method to effectively separate and identify pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, amphetamine, methamphetamine and 3,4-MDMA. The application note details UHPLC/MS methodology and instrumentation for high throughput separation and identification of components in illicit drug samples using the Accela™ UHPLC system and MSQ Plus™ single quadrupole mass spectrometer. The application note entitled "Quantitative Analysis of Pseudoephedrine Tablets by UHPLC/MS" is available to download free-of-charge at

Pseudoephedrine is frequently used as a decongestant in common cold products including Sudafed®, Benadryl® and Claritin®. Pseudoephedrine, a List I chemical, is highly coveted by drug traffickers who use it to manufacture methamphetamine (meth), a Schedule II controlled substance, for the illicit drug market. The diversion of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-containing products is one of the major contributing factors in the rise of meth production and abuse worldwide. Successful separation and identification of pseudoephedrine in illicit drug mixtures can help identify the exact sources and manufacturing pathways of meth seized in the illicit drug market.

Illicit drug mixtures are typically analyzed by using classical techniques such as gas or liquid chromatography. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is preferred whenever the analytes are polar, thermally labile, or require chemical derivatization before GC. Furthermore, ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) provides a competitive alternative to traditional GC. When combined with mass spectrometry, UHPLC/MS provides fast, efficient separations and sensitive detection with mass confirmation.

For this particular application, three common over-the-counter cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine as one of the active ingredients were analyzed by UHPLC/MS after a simple extraction procedure that required no chemical derivatization. Pseudoephedrine was identified as the major active ingredient for all three brand named drugs using the UHPLC/MS method.

The unique Thermo Scientific Accela high-speed LC with sub 2-micron particle columns can operate at the standard pressures of conventional HPLC up to 15,000 psi and is capable of performing separations up to 10 times faster, with better resolution and efficiency, all in a single instrument. The ppb (ng/mL) level sensitivity and mass confirmation provided by UHPLC/MS allow unambiguous identification and quantification of pseudoephedrine and related compounds in drug preparations and illicit drug samples.

For more information about Thermo Scientific UHPLC/MS solutions, please call +1 800-532-4752, email or visit

Thermo Scientific is part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science.

About Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science, enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. With annual revenues of $10 billion, we have more than 30,000 employees and serve over 350,000 customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as environmental and industrial process control settings. Serving customers through two premier brands, Thermo Scientific and Fisher Scientific, we help solve analytical challenges from routine testing to complex research and discovery. Thermo Scientific offers customers a complete range of high-end analytical instruments as well as laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents to enable integrated laboratory workflow solutions. Fisher Scientific provides a complete portfolio of laboratory equipment, chemicals, supplies and services used in healthcare, scientific research, safety and education. Together, we offer the most convenient purchasing options to customers and continuously advance our technologies to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, enhance value for customers and fuel growth for shareholders and employees alike. Visit

Record changed: 2016-03-19


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