Rapid Detection of the Low Dose API in Xanax Using Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy for Anti-Counterfeiting Purposes

The emergence of counterfeit prescription drugs has become a concern for the pharmaceutical industry. Because of the low concentrations of APIs found in pharmaceutical drugs, normal Raman spectroscopy is typically not sensitive enough to detect the API from the surface of a pill. In this study we develop a surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-based approach to identify a low-dose of the API alprazolam in a Xanax tablet using a handheld Raman spectrometer. If no SERS peaks consistent with alprazolam are observed from a Xanax tablet, the pill is a suspected fake. The method demonstrates the power of SERS to quickly verify the presence of alprazolam in the tablet for anti-counterfeiting purposes.