, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 455-473
Date: 12 Oct 2012

Prodrugs

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Summary

Prodrugs are pharmacologically inactive chemical derivatives of a drug molecule that require a transformation within the body in order to release the active drug. They are designed to overcome pharmaceutical and/or pharmacokinetically based problems associated with the parent drug molecule that would otherwise limit the clinical usefulness of the drug.

The scientific rationale, based on clinical, pharmaceutical and chemical experience, for the design of various currently used prodrugs is presented in this review. The examples presented are by no means comprehensive, but are representative of the different ways in which the prodrug approach has been used to enhance the clinical efficacy of various drug molecules.