Prednisolone (PLN) and prednisone (PN) are widely used glucocorticoids. Drug monitoring of PLN and PN is not routinely done owing to the need for multiple blood sampling and challenging measurement of unbound PLN and PN in blood. Here we present a robust method for quantification of cortisol, PLN and PN in serum, ultrafiltrate and saliva by on-line solid-phase extraction LC-MS/MS. The method is linear for the three analytes over the range of 6-1400nmol/L for serum and 2-450nmol/L for ultrafiltrate and saliva. Within-run precision of all three analytes was <10% and total precision was <15%. This method was applied to create time-concentration profiles of cortisol, PLN and PN after an oral dose of prednisolone in a healthy volunteer. Salivary levels of PLN correlated well with ultrafiltrate levels (p<0.01), while this correlation was only marginal for PN (p=0.052). The PN/PLN ratio was significantly higher in saliva than in ultrafiltrate and serum (p<0.01). Addition sums of both metabolites in saliva showed excellent correlation with those of ultrafiltrate (p<0.01). These findings have not been presented before and may have important implications for future studies concerning drug monitoring of PLN and PN in saliva.

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Keywords Drug monitoring, LC-MS/MS, Prednisolone, Prednisone, Saliva, Ultrafiltrate
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Journal Biomedical Chromatography
Ruiter, A.F.C, Teeninga, N, Nauta, J, Endert, E, & Ackermans, M.T. (2012). Determination of unbound prednisolone, prednisone and cortisol in human serum and saliva by on-line solid-phase extraction liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and potential implications for drug monitoring of prednisolone and prednisone in saliva. Biomedical Chromatography, 26(7), 789–796. doi:10.1002/bmc.1730