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We have developed and validated a novel, sensitive, selective and reproducible reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography method coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC–ESI-MS/MS) for the simultaneous quantitation of ceftriaxone (CEF), metronidazole (MET) and hydroxymetronidazole (MET-OH) from only 50 µL of human plasma, and unbound CEF from 25 µL plasma ultra-filtrate to evaluate the effect of protein binding. Cefuroxime axetil (CEFU) was used as an internal standard (IS). The analytes were extracted by a protein precipitation procedure with acetonitrile and separated on a reversed-phase Polaris 5 C18-Analytical column using a mobile phase composed of acetonitrile containing 0.1% (v/v) formic acid and 10 mM aqueous ammonium formate pH 2.5, delivered at a flow-rate of 300 µL/min. Multiple reaction monitoring was performed in the positive ion mode using the transitions m/z555.1→m/z396.0 (CEF), m/z172.2→m/z 128.2 (MET), m/z188.0→m/z125.9 (MET-OH) and m/z528.1→m/z 364.0 (CEFU) to quantify the drugs. Calibration curves in spiked plasma and ultra-filtrate were linear (r2 ≥ 0.9948) from 0.4–300 µg/mL for CEF, 0.05–50 µg/mL for MET and 0.02 – 30 µg/mL for MET-OH. The intra- and inter- assay precisions were less than 9% and the mean extraction recoveries were 94.0% (CEF), 98.2% (MET), 99.6% (MET-OH) and 104.6% (CEF in ultra-filtrate); the recoveries for the IS were 93.8% (in plasma) and 97.6% (in ultra-filtrate). The validated method was successfully applied to a pharmacokinetic study of CEF, MET and MET-OH in hospitalized children with complicated severe acute malnutrition following an oral administration of MET and intravenous administration of CEF over the course of 72 hours.

Original publication




Journal article


Wellcome Open Research


F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date





43 - 43