Esmolol hydrochloride injection is indicated for the rapid control of ventricular rate in patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter in perioperative, postoperative, or other emergent circumstances where short term control of ventricular rate with a short-acting agent is desirable. The potential toxic impurities in pharmaceuticals at micro levels or trace levels are of increasing concern to both pharmaceutical industries and regulatory agencies, due to their potential risk to human health. The impurity investigation of esmolol remains incomplete. Thereby, efficient impurities monitoring and potential toxicity assessment should be emphasized to assure drug safety. Impurity profiling methods of esmolol were developed using ultraperformance liquid chromatography plus Q-Exactive Orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-QE-MS) based multiple mass defect filter and chemometrics. Impurities were characterized by both UPLC-QE-MS and reference substance comparison. The toxicities of esmolol impurities were predicted by employing quantitative structure–activity relationship. The results showed that a total of 20 impurities were detected and identified using the above integrated strategy, 14 impurities (EP2-3, EP5-6, EP8-9, EP12-13, EP15-20) have firstly found. EP20 was predicted as hepatotoxic and mutagenic using QSAR model, and its hepatotoxicity were verified in vivo. The EP1 contents showed maximum volatility in all batches, and varied by sample. EP1 and its accompanying product of methanol were measured. This UPLC-MS/MS based chemometrics strategy is useful for monitoring the manufacturing process and quality control of esmolol hydrochloride injection.
By Wei Zhang, Wen-Bo Li, Qi Wang, Xiao-Yan Liu, Yan-Ming Liu, Hai-Ping Huang, Bin Hu, Shuai Yin, Yi-Kun Wang