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Biopharm Drug Dispos. 1998 May;19(4):209-17.

Carrier-mediated intestinal absorption of valacyclovir, the L-valyl ester prodrug of acyclovir: 1. Interactions with peptides, organic anions and organic cations in rats.

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Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, Piscataway 08854, USA.


The mechanism of intestinal transport of valacyclovir (VACV), the L-valyl ester prodrug of acyclovir, was investigated in rats using an in situ intestinal perfusion technique. VACV demonstrates an oral bioavailability that is three to five time greater than acyclovir, concentration dependent, and saturable in humans. Homogenate and perfused buffer stability results demonstrated that VACV was increasingly unstable with increasing pH. VACV was converted to ACV in a concentration dependent manner during a single pass through the intestinal segment. Perfusions were performed at 37 degrees C, pH 6.5, and under iso-osmotic conditions (290 +/- 10 mOsm L-1). Intestinal outlet concentrations were corrected for VACV that was converted to ACV during the perfusion. The effective dimensionless intestinal permeability (P*e) of VACV was concentration dependent, saturable (intrinsic Km = 1.2 +/- 0.7 mM), and significantly reduced (p < 0.05) in the presence of peptide analogues (amoxicillin, ampicillin, cefadroxil, and cephradine), by the organic anion, p-amino hippuric acid and by the organic cation quinine. VACV transport was not inhibited by classical nucleoside competitive substrates or inhibitors or by valine. These results suggest that H(+)-oligopeptide, H(+)-organic cation, and organic anion transporters are involved in the small intestinal uptake of VACV. The permeability of VACV in the colon was very low, indicating that VACV is predominantly absorbed from the small intestine. VACV P*e was not altered in the presence of glucose-induced convective fluid flow, suggesting that carrier-mediated, transcellular uptake is the predominant absorption pathway of VACV in rat small intestine. Based on these results, the oral bioavailability of VACV appears to be significantly influenced by the preabsorptive conversion of VACV to the poorly absorbed ACV, by the involvement of multiple transporters in VACV small-intestinal uptake, and by the low permeability of VACV in the colon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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