The developing world is awash in substandard, degraded or falsified medications, which can either directly harm users or deprive them of needed treatment. And with internet sales of medications on the rise, people everywhere are increasingly at risk. So, a team of researchers has developed a simple, inexpensive paper-based device to screen suspicious medications.
The researchers will present their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features more than 9,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics. A brand-new video on the research is available at http://bit.ly/ACSfakedrugdetection.
“People who don’t have access to the best-quality medicines also don’t have as many resources to buy the analytical instrumentation to detect the quality problems,” says Marya Lieberman, Ph.D. “Instead of a $30,000 instrument, we’ve developed a $1 paper card. We designed the card so it would be as easy and inexpensive to use as possible.”
Medications can be compromised in many different ways. For example, they may be bulked up with fillers, or they can degrade because they are stored improperly. Identifying poor-quality medications is challenging, as inspectors may not know in advance what chemical adulterants or degradation products they need to look for. Plus, bad-quality medications may contain at least some of the active ingredient, so simply detecting the presence of the real medication isn’t enough to rule out issues.
In this study, Lieberman of the University of Notre Dame, along with Hamline University undergraduate Sarah Bliese, developed a card to detect falsified or degraded antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or ceftriaxone, both of which the World Health Organization lists as “essential.” To screen for a variety of potential quality issues, the researchers included 12 lanes separated by wax barriers on the paper device. Each lane contained a different set of reagents to detect materials or functional groups found in active pharmaceutical ingredients, degradation products or common fillers.
To run a sample, the researchers crush a pill and rub the resulting powder across all 12 lanes, and then dip the bottom of the paper card in water for three minutes. The water wicks up the lanes, bringing reagents into contact with the powder. Colors are formed when the reagents interact with the pharmaceutical, filler or degradation product. The researchers then compare the color pattern from the sample with the color patterns obtained from high-quality pharmaceutical products. The comparison can be done by eye or with an image-analysis program on a smartphone.
Ceftriaxone is sensitive to heat and breaks down if storage temperatures climb too high. As an experiment, the researchers subjected ceftriaxone to high temperatures and ran the card test, simultaneously analyzing the degradation products via liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. They verified that the colorimetric pattern for the degraded antibiotic was different from that of the correctly stored product. In addition to these tests on the pure active ingredient, Lieberman and Bliese analyzed dozens of real-world samples of ceftriaxone from Kenya and Uganda.
Unscrupulous makers of falsified medication sometimes add colorants containing toxic heavy metals to their products to make the illicit pills more closely resemble their legitimate counterparts, Bliese says. So, in a related project at Hamline University, Bliese and Deanna O’Donnell, Ph.D., are exploring whether a portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy device can scan pills for these substances.
In June, Lieberman and Bliese traveled to Kenya to test a new paper card which can detect substandard antibiotics. While Lieberman is currently focusing her work on the developing world, she says her cards could be applicable worldwide to perform, for example, the analysis of herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. “Sometimes those ‘herbal products’ are actually spiked with pharmaceuticals,” she explains. “The paper test cards could be a defense against this.” Bliese says her next project will be to develop a paper test card to help first responders identify drugs of abuse and differentiate them from household products or legitimate medicines.
The Latest on: Suspicious medications
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Suspicious medications” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Suspicious medications
- Drug dealers masquerade as tourist family in Da Laton February 25, 2024 at 11:39 pm
Several people were arrested by police of the Central Highlands' Lam Dong Province after masquerading as a family visiting Da Lat, in order to transport a kilogram of methamphetamine.
- Drugs, handgun seized by Moosic Police Departmenton February 25, 2024 at 5:34 pm
Moosic Borough Police Department says two people were arrested after officers reportedly found drugs in a truck. Early February 24 at about 1:30 a.m., an officer from the Moosic Borough Police ...
- Two charged with operating drug factory after a car stop in East Lyme, police sayon February 24, 2024 at 8:36 am
Police in East Lyme say two people in a car with a fake license plate were found with fentanyl, cocaine, mushrooms and marijuana.
- Waverly Police arrests 2 suspects after loaded handgun, drugs found in vehicleon February 22, 2024 at 12:07 pm
An investigation into the suspicious vehicle recovered a loaded handgun, various containers of methamphetamine, packaging material, scales and other drug-related paraphernalia. Walter was taken to ...
- ‘You found what?’: Man had drugs and a rocket launcher in his car, police sayon February 22, 2024 at 4:25 am
Alex Sinni had been watching a suspicious vehicle in the side parking lot of the town ... Sinni noticed some items in Johnson’s car associated with illegal drugs, police said, and continued to search ...
- Mass. police search car, find drugs ... and a rocket launcheron February 22, 2024 at 2:37 am
This photo provided by police shows a U.S. Army rocket launcher found in a vehicle by Sutton Police on Monday in Sutton, Mass. Det. Alex Sinni said he was unnerved to find a U.S. Army rocket launcher ...
- Rocket launcher, cocaine found during search of ‘suspicious’ car, Sutton police sayon February 21, 2024 at 6:41 pm
An officer discovered a rocket launcher and a small amount of crack cocaine after searching a “suspicious” vehicle in Sutton, police said.
- Man gets 9 years after pleading guilty to drug induced homicideon February 21, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Due to the suspicious nature of the death ... the Christian County State’s Attorney’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Bradley P. Graham, 39, for Drug-Induced Homicide. Agents from ISP DCI Zone 4 ...
- Police seize rocket launcher, drugs from parked car during arrest in Sutton, officials sayon February 21, 2024 at 9:09 am
We had to do some research on what one does once they take possession of a rocket launcher,” police said in a statement.
- Police search a car and find cocaine -- and a US Army rocket launcheron February 20, 2024 at 5:10 pm
A police detective says he was unnerved to find a U.S. Army rocket launcher when searching a suspicious truck for drugs in central Massachusetts A police detective says he was unnerved to find a U ...
via Bing News