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Phenolic Esters of O-Desmethylvenlafaxine with Improved Oral Bioavailability and Brain Uptake

Author(s): Yang Zhang | Yan Yang | Sen Zhao | Zhichao Yang | Hong Yang | J. Paul Fawcett | Youxin Li | Jingkai Gu | Tiemin Sun

Journal: Molecules
ISSN 1420-3049

Volume: 18;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 14920;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: O-desmethylvenlafaxine | phenolic ester | prodrug | pharmacokinetics | brain uptake | rat | dog

O-Desmethylvenlafaxine (desvenlafaxine, ODV) is a recently approved antidepressant which in some clinical studies failed to meet a satisfactory end-point. The aim of this study was to prepare a series of phenolic esters of ODV and evaluate their potential as ODV prodrugs with improved brain uptake. Fifteen phenolic esters (compounds 1a–o) were synthesized and their pharmacokinetic profiles evaluated in rat. The four compounds producing the highest relative bioavailability of ODV in rat (compounds 1c, 1e, 1n, 1o) were then studied to evaluate their brain uptake. Of these four compounds, compound 1n (the piperonylic acid ester of ODV) demonstrated the highest Cmax of ODV both in the rat hypothalamus and total brain. Finally the pharmacokinetics of 1n were evaluated in beagle dog where the increase in relative bioavailability of ODV was found to be as great as in rat. This high relative bioavailability of ODV coupled with its good brain penetration make 1n the most promising candidate for development as an ODV prodrug.
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