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Problems of Forensic Sciences 2005  Vol. 63 (LXIII)  259-269
 
DETERMINATION OF SELENIUM AND ARSENIC IN THE BLOOD AND URINE OF PATIENTS TAKING PART IN A METHADONE PROGRAMME

Renata WIETECHA-POSŁUSZNY1, Agnieszka BEDNAREK1, Paweł KOŚCIELNIAK1,2, Justyna DOBROWOLSKA1, Agnieszka MORAWSKA3, Wojciech PIEKOSZEWSKI2,3, Jan CHROSTEK-MAJ4
1Department of Chemistry, Jagiellonian Univesity, Krakow
2Institute of Forensic Research, Krakow
3Department of Toxicology and Therapeutic Monitoring, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
4Toxicological Clinic, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Krakow


Streszczenie

The aim of the research was to evaluate the influence of long-term taking of opiates and a methadone substitution programme on the level of selenium and arsenic in the blood and urine of drug-addicted persons. The research encompassed 48 patients who were chronically addicted to opiates. They were being treated at the Detoxification Unit, Toxicological Clinic, Krakow, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Krakow and taking part in a methadone programme (for 3.5 years on average). The control group consisted of 35 young non-addicted persons of medium build (BMI ~22). The ranges of concentrations of both analytes in blood and urine samples collected from the control group and from the addicts were determined at the beginning. The concentrations of selenium in ca. 40% of patients’ urine samples  turned out to be a bit lower than concentrations obtained for the control group (9.5–48.5 μg/l). However, concentrations of selenium in blood were consistent with values determined for the control group (52–124 μg/l). Lower concentrations of selenium in urine could indicate disruption of physiological processes (85% of the patients had jaundice and ca. 10% had HIV) or could indicate an increase in bio-assimilation of this element by the weakened organisms of patients. Analysis of data concerning arsenic showed that ca. 50% of patients had increased arsenic concentration in blood samples (e.g. 70 and 115 μg/l). This effect is most probably linked to additional taking of drugs of abuse of unknown origin and smoking of significant amounts of cigarettes. These observations were confirmed by additional tests such as analysis of urine samples for the presence of drugs (especially opiates, amphetamine and THC) and also an interview and survey using a questionnaire that had been specially prepared for this purpose. The performed research allowed us to evaluate, to a certain extent, the state of metabolism of selected trace elements in the analysed group of drug addicts and to conclude that the applied therapeutic treatment can restore the equilibrium that has been upset by intoxicants in this range.


Słowa kluczowe

Selenium; Arsenic; Methadone programme; Atomic fluorescence spectroscopy.


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