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Deuterated Drugs: A Side Effect Already?

Well, this isn’t a toxicological side effect so much as an analytical chemistry one. Nature reports that forensic scientists are quite worried about the idea of deuterated drugs catching on, because they use deuterated versions of common pharmaceuticals as analytical reference standards. A lot of common analysis methods for the drugs in question would have to be junked for anyone taking the deuterated compound. And with both versions on the market, toxicologists would always be uncertain about where they stood, particularly by legal evidence standards.

3 comments on “Deuterated Drugs: A Side Effect Already?”

  1. carras says:

    That is exactly my case: in my lab we use many deuterated standards for our analysis (it is an absolute must when analysing drug residues in biological fluids or tissues using LC/MS). I don’t know much about how these things are synthezised but I’ve always figured they could be made with 15N, 13C and so on. For example I am using 37Cl-cloranphenicol as internal standard.

  2. Celeste says:

    As an analytical chemist, I can attest that widespread use of deuterated drugs would undermine many LC/MS methods. Thanks for posting, as the concept of deuterated drugs is news to me. I will certainly be on the lookout now.

  3. tom says:

    Yes, deuterated standards make life much easier, but if you are really good you can also work without it in many cases. You only have to demonstrate that your LC-MS methods are robust enough with respect to various food components, co-medication and other matrix effects.

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