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Pharmacokinetics of the pivaloyloxyethyl (POE) ester of methyldopa, a new prodrug of methyldopa


A prodrug of methyldopa, the pivaloyloxyethyl (POE) ester, was administered orally to healthy human volunteers at doses equivalent to 500 and 1000 mg of methyldopa and was compared to oral and intravenous doses of methyldopa. The time courses of availability of methyldopa to the general circulation were compared and contrasted with the model-independent estimates of total systemic availability. The POE ester of methyldopa is completely hydrolyzed on the first pass; delivery of methyldopa to the general circulation was faster, more uniform, and more extensive compared to orally administered methyldopa. The systemic availability of methyldopa averaged 64% of the dose with a coefficient of variation (CV) of 15% for the prodrug treatments compared to 27% of the dose with a CV of 63% for methyldopa. First-pass metabolism of drug to the mono-O-sulfate conjugate of methyldopa was lower for the POE ester than for methyldopa.

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Correspondence to M. R. Dobrinska.

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Dobrinska, M.R., Kukovetz, W., Beubler, E. et al. Pharmacokinetics of the pivaloyloxyethyl (POE) ester of methyldopa, a new prodrug of methyldopa. Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics 10, 587–600 (1982).

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Key words

  • methyldopa prodrug
  • methyldopa bioavailability
  • intersubject variability
  • absorption profiles
  • first-pass metabolism