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Lipophilic nalmefene prodrugs to achieve a one-month sustained release

Gaekens, Tim, Guillaume, Michel, Borghys, Herman, De Zwart, Loeckie L., de Vries, Ronald, Embrechts, Roger C.A., Vermeulen, An, Megens, Anton A.H.P., Leysen, Josée E., Herdewijn, Piet, Annaert, Pieter P. and Atack, John R. 2016. Lipophilic nalmefene prodrugs to achieve a one-month sustained release. Journal of Controlled Release 232 , p. 196. 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.04.029

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Nalmefene is an opioid antagonist which as a once-a-day tablet formulation has recently been approved for reducing ethanol intake in alcoholic subjects. In order to address the compliance issue in this patient population, a number of potential nalmefene prodrugs were synthesized with the aim of providing a formulation that could provide plasma drug concentrations in the region of 0.5–1.0 ng/mL for a one-month period when dosed intramuscular to dogs or minipigs. In an initial series of studies, three different lipophilic nalmefene derivatives were evaluated: the palmitate (C16), the octadecyl glutarate diester (C18-C5) and the decyl carbamate (CB10). They were administered intramuscularly to dogs in a sesame oil solution at a dose of 1 mg-eq. nalmefene/kg. The decyl carbamate was released relatively quickly from the oil depot and its carbamate bond was too stable to be used as a prodrug. The other two derivatives delivered a fairly constant level of 0.2–0.3 ng nalmefene/mL plasma for one month and since there was no significant difference between these two, the less complex palmitate monoester was chosen to demonstrate that dog plasma nalmefene concentrations were dose-dependent at 1, 5 and 20 mg-eq. nalmefene/kg. In a second set of experiments, the effect of the chain length of the fatty acid monoester promoieties was examined. The increasingly lipophilic octanoate (C8), decanoate (C10) and dodecanoate (C12) derivatives were evaluated in dogs and in minipigs, at a dose of 5 mg-eq. nalmefene/kg and plasma nalmefene concentrations were measured over a four-week period. The pharmacokinetic profiles were very similar in both species with Cmax decreasing and Tmax increasing with increasing fatty acid chain length and the target plasma concentrations (0.5–1.0 ng/mL over a month-long period) were achieved with the dodecanoate (C12) prodrug. These data therefore demonstrate that sustained plasma nalmefene concentrations can be achieved in both dog and minipig using nalmefene prodrugs and that the pharmacokinetic profile of nalmefene can be tuned by varying the length of the alkyl group.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0168-3659
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 November 2018
Date of Acceptance: 18 April 2016
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 15:55

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