Enantioselective disposition of (R)-salmeterol and (S)-salmeterol in urine following inhaled dosing and application to doping control

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Glenn A Jacobson, Morten Hostrup, Christian K Narkowicz, David S Nichols, E Haydn Walters

Salmeterol (USAN, INN, BAN) is a long-acting beta2-adrenoceptor agonist (LABA) widely used in the treatment of airways disease. Although salmeterol is permitted via inhalation by athletes and supratherapeutic dosing may enhance performance, no urine threshold has been established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Salmeterol is a chiral compound consisting of (R)- and (S)-enantiomers, normally administered as racemic (rac-) mixture via inhalation. Levels of rac-salmeterol in urine are often below detectable levels and there is surprisingly little information regarding the enantioselectivity of salmeterol pharmacokinetics. In this study, subjects inhaled either 50 (n = 6) or 200 µg (n = 4; generally regarded as maximum therapeutic dose) of salmeterol and urine was then collected for 24 h and analyzed by enantioselective ultra performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). Maximum rac-salmeterol urine concentrations were obtained at 2 h for both doses with medians of 0.084 ng/mL after the 50 µg dose and 2.1 ng/mL after the 200 µg dose, with an individual maximum of 5.7 ng/mL. Levels were detectable at 24 h for both doses. Salmeterol displayed enantioselective pharmacokinetics, with a mean ± SD log (S):(R) = 0.055 ± 0.025 (P < 0.0001) equivalent to (S):(R) of 1.13. In conclusion, rac-salmeterol by inhalation exhibits modest enantioselectivity in urine following single dose administration and can be detected following a single 50 µg dose for up to 24 h after inhalation. The present findings are of relevance if a urine threshold limit is to be introduced for salmeterol on the list of prohibited substances. The application of an enantiomer ratio analysis may offer improved discriminatory detection capability for doping control analysis applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Volume9
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1262-1266
Number of pages5
ISSN1942-7603
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 170807639