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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1984 Apr;62(4):452-6.

Morphine diesters. II. Blood metabolism and analgesic activity in the rat.


The kinetics of hydrolysis of dipropanoylmorphine (DPM) and dibutanoylmorphine (DBM) in human blood fractions and for diacetylmorphine (DAM) and DBM in rat blood fractions were investigated. In each case the hydrolysis of morphine diesters terminated with the production of the corresponding 6-monoester derivative. Generally, decreases in Km and Vmax were observed for the plasma, red blood cell (RBC) cytosol, and RBC membrane esterases responsible for morphine diester hydrolysis as the alkyl chain length of the ester moiety increased. This resulted in an overall decrease in the rate of hydrolysis of morphine diesters by human or rat blood with longer chain homologs of DAM. The analgesic potency and duration of morphine, DAM, and DBM were assessed at various i.v. dosages in the rat by means of the tail-flick latency test. A comparison of equianalgesic doses of morphine, DAM, and DBM indicated that DAM and DBM were 11.5 and 6 times as potent and 0.8 and 1.2 times as long acting, respectively, as morphine.

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