Desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) with atmospheric pressure ion mobility spectrometry for drug detection
Desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) was coupled to an ambient pressure drift tube ion mobility time-of-flight mass spectrometer (IM-TOFMS) for the direct analysis of active ingredients in pharmaceutical samples. The DESI source was also coupled with a standalone IMS demonstrating potential of portable and inexpensive drug-quality testing platforms. The DESI-IMS required no sample pretreatment as ions were generated directly from tablets and cream formulations. The analysis of a range of over-the-counter and prescription tablet formations was demonstrated for amphetamine (methylphenidate), antidepressant (venlafaxine), barbiturate (Barbituric acid), depressant (alprazolam), narcotic (3-methylmorphine) and sympatholytic (propranolol) drugs. Active ingredients from soft and liquid formulations, such as Icy Hot cream (methyl salicylate) and Nyquil cold medicine (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, doxylamine) were also detected. Increased sensitivity for selective drug responses was demonstrated through the formation of sodiated adduct ions by introducing small quantities of NaCl into the DESI solvent. Of the drugs and pharmaceuticals tested in this study, 68% (22 total samples) provided a clear ion mobility response at characteristic mobilities either as (M + H)+, (M − H)−, or (M + Na)+ ions.