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Benzodiazepines drugs are psychoactives whose structure contains a benzene ring fused with a diazepine ring. One of the most well known benzodiazepines – diazepam – has been marketed under the name “Valium” since 1963. These drugs are effective tranquilizers and as such are commonly used in medication to treat anxiety and sleep disorders amongst other conditions. The relative availability of these drugs combined with their sedative effect has led to their illicit use as either recreational drug and sometimes in suicides. Consequently it is common practice to analyze for benzodiazepines in forensic and toxicology laboratories.
Benzodiazepines compounds are bases and so readily react with active sites in eg. the GC inlet liner causing problems in analysis at low levels and resulting in poor linearity and reproducibility. The use of analyte protectants reduces liner activity and often enables the detection of such ‘active’ compounds at much lower levels. The use of analyte protectants in the GCMS analysis of a group of benzodiazepines was investigated and the results are discussed below.