Chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis of the urinary metabolite profile of chlorphenesin observed after dermal application of chlorphenesin-containing sunscreen

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Rationale:: Chlorphenesin is an approved biocide frequently used in cosmetics, and its carbamate ester is an approved skeletal muscle relaxant in certain countries for the treatment of discomfort related to skeletal muscle trauma and inflammation. A major urinary metabolite is 4-chlorophenoxy acetic acid (4-CPA), also known as para-chlorophenoxyacetate, which is also employed as a target analyte in sports drug testing to detect the use of the prohibited nootropic stimulant meclofenoxate. To distinguish between 4-CPA resulting from chlorphenesin, chlorphenesin carbamate, and meclofenoxate, urinary metabolite profiles of chlorphenesin after legitimate use were investigated. Methods:: Human administration studies with commercially available sunscreen containing 0.25% by weight of chlorphenesin were conducted. Six study participants dermally applied 8 g of sunscreen and collected urine samples before and up to 7 days after application. Another set of six study participants applied 8 g of sunscreen on three consecutive days, and urine samples were also taken for up to 5 days after the last dosing. Urine specimens were analyzed using liquid chromatography-high resolution (tandem) mass spectrometry, and urinary metabolites were identified in accordance with literature data by accurate mass analysis of respective precursor and characteristic product ions. Results:: In accordance with literature data, chlorphenesin yielded the characteristic urinary metabolites, chlorphenesin glucuronide, chlorphenesin sulfate, and 3-(4-chlorophenoxy)-2-hydroxypropanoic acid (4-CPP), as well as the common metabolite 4-CPA. 4-CPA and 4-CPP were observed at similar abundances, with urinary concentrations of 4-CPA reaching up to ~1500 and 2300 ng/mL after single and multiple sunscreen applications, respectively. Conclusion:: 4-CPA is a common metabolite of meclofenoxate, chlorphenesin, and chlorphenesin carbamate. Monitoring the diagnostic urinary metabolites of chlorphenesin provides conclusive supporting evidence of whether chlorphenesin or the prohibited nootropic meclofenoxate was administered.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9183
JournalRapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM
Volume35
Issue number21
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
ISSN0951-4198
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25.08.2021

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© 2021 The Authors. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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