A discharge adaptor, composed of a metal casing and platinum (Pt) wire needle, was directly attached to an electrospray ionization (ESI) probe tip, to transform the ionization into atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI). Six generic drugs were analyzed with the developed discharge adaptor (DA) and two commercial interfaces. The DA interface produced more intense radical anions, [M].–, and less sodium adduct ions, [M + Na]+, than the ESI interface, whereas almost the same molecular ions were detected as the APCI interface. The effects of solvent and desolvation gas flow in the DA interface were similar to those in the ESI interface, but differed from those in the APCI interface. Better sensitivity of the tested drugs was obtained relative to the commercial APCI interface. For human plasma samples, the DA interface also demonstrated good tolerance to plasma matrices, linearity from 5 or 20 to 500 ng/mL (r2 > 0.99) and ruggedness. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.