The alprazolam analogue 4′-chloro deschloroalprazolam identified in seized capsules

Sheena Trigg, Jason M. Wells, Jasmine McGann, Soeren Bock, Adam Holman, Stephen M. Harrison, Ching Yong Goh, Stephen A. Moggach, David H. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


New designer benzodiazepines continue to be identified in the illicit drug market. In December 2021, eight capsules were submitted to ChemCentre for analysis. The samples were analysed by a range of analytical techniques including gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), ultraviolet–visible spectrophotometry, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC–MS, low and high resolution), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, which identified the main component of the capsules to be 4′-chloro deschloroalprazolam, a new designer benzodiazepine. Alarmingly, the mass spectral data for this alprazolam analogue were very similar to that of alprazolam, such that misidentification could be possible. A minor component of the capsules was also partially characterised, it is believed to be the synthetic precursor 4′-chloro deschloronordiazepam. The information provided in this paper includes ways to discriminate these analogues from alprazolam and nordiazepam which will enable other laboratories to identify these new drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1672-1680
Number of pages9
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Issue number9
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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