Prescription opioids. I. metabolism and excretion patterns of oxycodone in urine following controlled single dose administration

Edward J. Cone, Rebecca Heltsley, David L. Black, John M. Mitchell, Charles P. LoDico, Ronald R. Flegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The ongoing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse in the United States has prompted interest in semi-synthetic opioids in the federal workplace drug testing program. This study characterized the metabolism and disposition of oxycodone (OC) in human urine. Twelve healthy adults were administered a single oral 20 mg dose of OC in a controlled clinical setting. Urine specimens were collected at timed intervals up to 52 h and analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (limit of quantitation: 50 ng/mL) for OC, oxymorphone (OM), noroxycodone (NOC) and noroxymorphone (NOM) with and without enzymatic hydrolysis. OC and NOC appeared in urine within 2 h, followed by OM and NOM. Peak concentrations of OC and metabolites occurred between 3 and 19 h. Mean peak concentrations in hydrolyzed urine were in the following order: NOC > OC > OM > NOM. Only OM appeared to be excreted extensively as a conjugated metabolite. OC concentrations declined more quickly than NOC and OM. At a cutoff concentration of 50 ng/mL, detection times were approximately 30 h for OC and 40 h for NOC and OM. Some specimens did not contain OC, but most contained NOC, thereby facilitating interpretation that OC was the administered drug; however, five specimens contained only OM. These data provide information that should facilitate the selection of appropriate test parameters for OC in urine and assist in the interpretation of test results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of analytical toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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