Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Peter A. Crooks

Abstract

The central hypothesis of the dissertation is that “the design and synthesis of a codrug of an opiate and a cannabinoid can be achieved which is stable in the gastrointestinal tract and shows a superior pharmacological and pharmacokinetic profile when compared to a physical mixture of the two parent drugs.” To prove the hypothesis, a series of novel codrugs were prepared by conjugation of the opiate drug codeine with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), cannabidiol, abn-cannabidiol and an opiate prodrug 3-O-acetylmorphine with Δ9-THC. Codeine-cannabinoid codrugs were evaluated for analgesic activity in the rat after oral administration. The Cod-THC codrug showed greater effectiveness as well as prolonged pain management properties as compared to the parent drugs. The stability of Cod-THC codrug in aqueous solutions from pH 1-9, in simulated gastrointestinal fluids, in brain homogenate and the hydrolysis of the carbonate ester linkage in rat plasma suggested that after oral administration, the codrug would be absorbed intact from the GI tract and then hydrolyze in the plasma to generate both parent drugs. The enzymes present in rat brain homogenate were incapable of cleaving the codrug into the parent drugs.

The pharmacokinetic profiles of the Cod-THC codrug and an equimolar physical mixture of the parent drugs were evaluated in rats. The plasma concentrations of codeine and Δ9-THC were much higher after codrug administration compared to the plasma concentrations of these drugs after oral administration of an equimolar physical mixture. The parent drugs were also present in the plasma for longer period of time compared to the physical mixture, probably due to the sustained release of the parent drugs from codrug in the plasma. The concentrations of codeine and Δ9-THC were much higher in rat brain after oral administration of the Cod-THC codrug as compared to brain concentrations of these drugs after oral administration of the physical mixture. Thus, the design and synthesis of an opiate and a cannabinoid codrug was achieved which was stable in the gastrointestinal tract, showed enhanced analgesic effects as compared to the parent drugs, and also showed a superior pharmacokinetic profile when compared to a physical mixture or the two parent drugs.

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Chemistry Commons

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