Extraction of psychotropic drugs from human scalp hair

F. J. Couper, I. M. McIntyre, O. H. Drummer

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A comparison of techniques for the extraction of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs in human scalp hair is described. Human scalp hair was obtained from cadavers known to be taking psychotropic drugs prior to their death. Following a washing step, hair was either solubilized in sodium hydroxide, or treated with dilute hydrochloric acid, methanol or subtilisin. Digests were treated with a solvent and the extracted drugs quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. The alkaline digestion procedure was found to be significantly more effective (P < 0.01) in recovering a range of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs from hair than either the acidic, methanolic or enzymatic treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • antidepressant drugs
  • antipsychotic drugs
  • HPLC
  • human scalp hair
  • toxicology

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