Phenolic group in therapeutic drugs can be used for a prodrug modification to overcome various undesirable drug properties that may become pharmacological, pharmaceutical or pharmacokinetic barriers for application. Several strategies have been used in order to overcome the limited bioavailability of phenolic drugs. Classical design represents a nonspecific chemical approach to mask undesirable drug properties, limited bioavailability or chemical instability. Targeted prodrug design represents a new strategy for directed and efficient drug delivery. Particularly, targeting the prodrug to specific enzyme or specific membrane transporter has potential as selective drug delivery system mainly in cancer therapy. The article brings examples of ester, sulphate, carbamate, carbonate, phosphate and ether prodrugs as well as the limitations of these prodrug strategies. Some specific enzyme targets are also presented.
Keywords: Phenolic functional group, prodrug strategies, biochemical pathways, drug delivery
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