Ketamine and norketamine stability in whole blood at ambient and 4°C conditions

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Nov 9, 2017
  • Author: Benjamin Duy Tran, Ganesh S. Moorthy, Athena F. Zuppa


A study was implemented to describe the pharmacokinetics (PK) of ketamine (K) and its metabolite norketamine (NK) in critically ill adults. Conducting studies in these subjects is hindered by the immediate need to process and freeze samples obtained in a busy intensive care setting. The ability to store unprocessed samples at room temperature for an extended time period would overcome this barrier. Stability and blood to plasma partitioning of K and NK were investigated in whole blood for up to 120 h at room temperature and 4°C. Whole blood was spiked with K and NK (1000 ng/mL each). Blood samples were aliquoted at different time points (0–120 h), extracted and analyzed using a validated high‐performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry assay. The study demonstrated the stability of both K and NK in whole blood up to 120 h. These in vitro studies suggest that the concentrations of K and NK measured in the PK samples are reliable. The established stability results were successfully employed to investigate K and NK pharmacology studies in critically ill adults.

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