Since liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) was introduced in the field of forensic toxicology in Japan, many challenges were considered using this technique in an attempt to overcome the problems which remained unsolved using other techniques such as gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (LC) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). We here review the analytical challenges carried out in Japan using LC/MS from 1992 to 2002. The studied compounds include abused drugs, hypnotics, antipsychotics, ethyl glucuronide, muscle relaxants, pesticides, surfactants, natural toxins such as tetrodotoxin and cardiac glycosides, etc. We also describe the background of the research and some cases of poisoning which provided the opportunity to begin these researches. Although GC/MS and LC/diode array detector (DAD) are mainly used in Japan for comprehensive screening and confirmation of drugs and poisons, the requirements of LC/MS in the field of forensic toxicology is expected to increase. This field which makes use of LC/ MS is indeed expanding.
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