PMID: 7086647Apr 1, 1982

Metronidazole phosphate--a water-soluble prodrug for parenteral solutions of metronidazole

Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
M J ChoD J Houser


To develop a parenteral solution of relatively water-insoluble metronidazole (2-methyl-5-nitro-1H-imidazole-1-ethanol), its phosphate ester was synthesized via two routes. One route utilized 2-cyanoethyl phosphate and the other utilized pyrophosphoryl tetrachloride. The first method used dicyclohexylcarbodiimide as a coupling agent and the cyanoethyl group was removed under mild alkaline conditions. The second method was a one-step procedure in which free acid of metronidazole phosphate was isolated as a crystalline solid. The solubility of metronidazole in various solvents was determined at 25 degrees. From the pH-dependence of its aqueous solubility, the pKa of the conjugate acid of metronidazole was estimated to be 2.62, which agreed well with the pKa values of other nitroimidazoles. Metronidazole phosphate behaved as a zwitterionic compound in an acidic medium with a minimum solubility at pH 2.0. At pH 7, its solubility was approximately 50 times that of metronidazole. The phosphate ester was so soluble at pH higher than 7 that it was difficult to measure the solubility accurately. In human serum, the hydrolysis of metronidazole phosphate followed zero-order kinetics at an initial concentration of 0.25 mg/ml or higher, pres...Continue Reading


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