Adulteration of botanical dietary supplements with prohibited synthetic drugs has become a serious problem. In this paper, a method for testing synthetic drugs used to adulterate botanical dietary supplements was developed using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) coupled with a linearity ion-trap system in the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) plus enhanced product ion (EPI) mode. Twenty-three drugs exhibiting various pharmacological effects, comprising blood pressure and lipid-lowering agents, sedative drugs, anti-diabetic drugs, weight-reducing agents and aphrodisiac compounds, were studied. For all drugs, a single transition was monitored using protonated molecules as precursor ions. EPI spectra were stored in a library and recognized by library searching. Several undeclared drugs were identified in herbal remedies, e.g., glibenclamide, sibutramine hydrochloride and sildenafil. Overall, 35 positive samples were found out of a total of 105 botanical dietary supplements tested. The method was selective, sensitive, rapid, high-throughput and reliable.
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