Postmortem Distribution of the Novel Antipsychotic Drug Quetiapine

Jay Hopenwasser, Ashraf Mozayani, Terry J. Danielson, Jeremy Harbin, Harminder S. Narula, Douglas H. Posey, Paul W. Shrode, Stephen K. Wilson, Richard Li, Luis A. Sanchez

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56 Scopus citations


The objective of this research was to determine the concentrations and distribution of the atypical antipsychotic drug, quetiapine, in postmortem tissues from eight Medical Examiner cases. Quetiapine was isolated from liquid specimens and tissue homogenates by extraction at an alkaline pH into 1-chlorobutane. The 1-chlorobutane was decanted, and quetiapine, plus the internal standard (prochlorperazine), was back-extracted into 0.1N sulfuric acid. The acid layer was made basic, and quetiapine, plus the internal standard, was re-extracted into 1-chlorobutane. Quantitation was by gradient, high-pressure liquid chromatography on a C-8 ODS (2.1 × 150 mm, 5 μ) column with acetonitrile/0.1M ammonium hydroxide (pH 10) mobile phase and a photodiode array detector set at 258 nm. The apparent linear range of the assay was from 0.05 to 5.0 μg/mL. At known concentrations of 0.1 and 0.5, interday accuracy (n = 5) was 103.8 and 107.2%, respectively. Interday precision (% cv) at the same concentrations was 9.8 and 9.0, respectively. In the cases where quetiapine was not considered to have contributed to the death, the postmortem concentrations in blood, liver, and bile ranged between 0.15 and 2.7 mg/L (n = 6), 1.3 and 9.5 mg/kg (n = 8), and 10 and 46 mg/L (n = 5), respectively. In the one case involving a quetiapine overdose, concentrations in blood (19.8 mg/L), liver (12.6 mg/kg), and bile (161 mg/L) exceeded the ranges of concentrations determined in specimens from the quetiapine-unrelated deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-268
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Analytical Toxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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