UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have developed novel abuse-deterrent opioid formulations from elastomers that resist crushing at room temperature and upon heating or cooling. The formulation also contains a dual-enzyme responsive system whereby sequential digestion by two separate enzymes found in the stomach/intestines together cleave the peptide linkage allowing the drug to be fully released.
Abuse of opioid analgesic alkaloids, such as oxycodone, is a public health epidemic in the United States. Many individuals seeking to abuse opioid analgesics starts with altered routes of administration of prescription medicines, which comes with an increased risk of overdose. There is a strong impetus to develop formulations that prevent and deter misuse, while simultaneously preserving access to vital medications for individuals with legitimate medical needs.
Currently, there are three approaches that are used in the formulation of opioids for abuse prevention including physical/chemical barriers, release of an antagonist, or release of a repellent. While many pharmaceutical companies are working on or have distributed pills with technologies to prevent opioid abuse, abusers have found ways around most current market formulations by dissolving in solutions found in the home or subjecting the pills to extreme temperatures in microwaves to melt the materials. Thus, new formulations of these opioids are needed that resist crushing at different temperatures and dissolving in household products.
Researchers at UCLA have designed novel abuse-deterrent opioid formulations that prevent illegal use of prescription drugs in two ways. Pills are formulated from elastomers that remain non-crushable at room temperature as well as upon heating or cooling. Additionally, this formulation contains a unique enzymatically degradable opioid delivery system in that it requires two enzymes found in the stomach or intestines for fast opioid release. The opioid is covalently conjugated to the elastomer through a peptide degradable linkage. The drug is enzymatically released only by two enzymes found in the intestines, thus preventing undesirable use of the opioid by injection or nasal infusion.
Abuse-deterrent drug formulations
The dual-enzyme degradation system has demonstrated sequences that are responsive to trypsin/chymotrypsin.
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