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J Control Release. 2006 Jun 28;113(2):137-45. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

Enhancement of transdermal delivery of 6-beta-naltrexol via a codrug linked to hydroxybupropion.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0082, USA.


Naltrexone (NTX) is a potent opioid antagonist used in the treatment of alcohol dependence and heroin abuse. Compared with naloxone, NTX has a longer duration of action largely attributed to its major active metabolite, 6-beta-naltrexol. The purpose of this study was to increase the delivery of 6-beta-naltrexol across human skin in vitro via a novel codrug. A carbonate codrug of 6-beta-naltrexol linked to hydroxybupropion was synthesized and evaluated. In vitro human skin permeation rates were measured using a flow-through diffusion cell system. The drug melting points, solubilities, chemical stability, and skin disposition were determined. The carbonate codrug was hydrolyzed on passing through skin and appeared as a combination of intact codrug and parent drugs, 6-beta-naltrexol and hydroxybupropion, in the receiver solution. The codrug provided a significantly (p<0.05) higher 6-beta-naltrexol flux across human skin than 6-beta-naltrexol base. The extent of parent drug regeneration in the skin ranged from 56 to 86%. A higher stratum corneum partition coefficient and rapid bioconversion of the carbonate codrug in the skin correlated with increased 6-beta-naltrexol delivery rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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