Journal of Solution Chemistry

, Volume 44, Issue 3–4, pp 440–453 | Cite as

Capture of Opiates by Ionic Liquids

  • José Restolho
  • Mário Barroso
  • Mário Dias
  • Carlos A. M. Afonso
  • Benilde Saramago


Room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) are known to provide efficient extraction media for a variety of systems. In particular, their ability to remove low volatility compounds (including opiate drugs) from the surface of human hair was recently demonstrated by this team. Among many tested ILs, some exhibited high extraction efficiencies for the two studied compounds, morphine and 6-monoacetylmorphine, while others have practically zero efficiency. The aim of the present study was to further understand the special affinity of specific combinations cation/anion towards the opiate drugs, through a systematic study of a limited number of ILs: 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate, [C2mim][OAc], 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate [C4mim][OAc], 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate [C6mim][OAc], 1-ethanol-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate, [C2OHmim][BF4], 1-ethanol-3-methylimidazolium chloride [C2OHmim][Cl], and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate, [C4mim][BF4]. Correlations between the efficiency of drug extraction from hair and the water content, surface tension and polarity of the ionic liquids (ILs) were found. The extraction efficiency increased with the IL’s water content, although in a different way for each IL/drug pair. A decrease in the surface tension during the process of drug extraction was detected only for highly efficient ILs. Efficiency was correlated with the polarity parameters defined by Kamlet and Taft: large for ILs of high acidity and low basicity (e.g. [C2OHmim][BF4]) and small for liquids with of low acidity and high basicity (e.g. [C6mim][OAc]).


Ionic liquids Opiate drugs Extraction efficiency Kamlet–Taft parameters 



J.R. acknowledges Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) for Grant SFRH/BD/73228/2010. This study was financially supported by the projects PEst-OE/QUI/UI0100/2013 and PEst-OE/SAU/UI4013/2011.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Restolho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mário Barroso
    • 3
  • Mário Dias
    • 3
  • Carlos A. M. Afonso
    • 1
  • Benilde Saramago
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigação do Medicamento (iMed.ULisboa)Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Química Estrutural, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Serviço de Química e Toxicologia ForensesInstituto Nacional de Medicina Legal e Ciências ForensesLisbonPortugal

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