AICAR (5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxyamide ribonucleoside) arguably provides performance-enhancing properties even in the absence of physical exercise and, therefore, the substance is banned in elite sports since 2009. Due to the natural presence of AICAR in human blood and urine, uncovering the misuse by direct qualitative analysis is not possible. Entering the circulation, the riboside is immediately incorporated into red blood cells (RBCs) and transformed into the corresponding ribotide (5'-monophosphate) form. Within the present study, an analytical method was developed to determine AICAR-ribotide concentrations in RBC concentrates by means of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The method was validated enabling quantitative result interpretation considering the parameters specificity, precision (intra- and interday), linearity, recovery, accuracy (LOD/LOQ), stability and ion suppression. By analysing 99 RBC samples of young athletes, normal physiological levels of AICAR-ribotide were determined (10-500 ng/mL), and individual levels were found to be stable for several days. Employing in vitro incubation experiments with AICAR riboside in fresh whole blood samples, the ribotide concentrations were observed to increase significantly within 30 min from baseline to 1-10 μg/mL. These levels are considered conserved for the lifetime of the erythrocyte and, thus, the results of the in vitro model strongly support the hypothesis that measuring abnormally high AICAR-ribotide concentrations in RBC of elite athletes has the potential to uncover the misuse of this substance for a long period of time.