Sonic spray ionization (SSI) was compared with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) as an interface for liquid chromatography (LC)-mass spectrometry (MS) for the analysis of some local anesthetics. Peaks at (M+H) + constituted the base peaks for all compounds by both SSI and APCI, except for prilocaine. The sensitivities by SSI for tetracaine, benzoxinate, dibucaine, bupivacaine and mepivacaine were 4–16 times higher than those by APCI; those by SSI for procaine and lidocaine were equivalent to those by APCI. Only for prilocaine was the sensitivity by SSI two times lower than that by APCI. In view of the higher sensitivities obtained for many local anesthetics by SSI, we established a detailed procedure for the assay of these drugs in human plasma and urine by LC-MS with SSI in combination with a diol-bonded silica gel HPLC column that enabled direct injection of crude biological samples without complicated pretreatment. The recoveries, sensitivities, accuracies and precisions were found satisfactory to quantitate them at their therapeutic levels.
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