A capillary electrophoresis method was developed to detect and measure hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and its active metabolite desethyl hydroxychloroquine (DHCQ) in whole blood in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The best separation in terms of peak area reproducibility, migration time, peak shape, and resolution of adjacent peaks was obtained in a 60 cm, 75 µm i.d. uncoated fused-silica capillary using a background electrolyte mixture of an aqueous 55 mmol/L TRIS solution brought to pH 2.6 with phosphoric acid and methanol (85:15) and a voltage and a temperature of separation of 20 kV and 30 °C, respectively. Analytes were separated in less than 12 min, with excellent linearity (R2 ≥ 0.999) in the concentration range of 0.5-8 µmol/L. The recovery of analytes spiked in whole blood was 99-101% for HCQ and 98-99% for DHCQ. Analysis of five samples from patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving HCQ 400 mg daily yielded mean steady-state concentrations of 2.27 ± 1.61 and 1.54 ± 0.55 μmol/L for HCQ and DHCQ, respectively, with a HCQ to DHCQ ratio of 1.40 ± 0.77.
- 4-aminoquinoline derivative
- autoimmune diseases
- capillary electrophoresis
- disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug