Assessment of the combined approach of N-alkylation and salt formation to enhance aqueous solubility of tertiary amines using bupivacaine as a model drug

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Quaternary prodrug types of poorly water-soluble tertiary amines have been shown to exhibit significantly enhanced solubilities as compared to the parent amine. In the present study the combined effect of N-alkylation and salt formation to enhance aqueous solubility of tertiary amines have been investigated using bupivacaine as a model compound. X-ray structure analyses of selected salts were included to investigate the potential existence of correlations between salt solubility and crystal packing modes. Alkyl groups were methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl and the derivatives were isolated as their iodide salts. Chloride, mesylate, formate, acetate, glycolate, and tosylate salts were obtained by anion exchange of the N-methyl-bupivacaine derivative. N-Alkylation and salt formation afforded quaternary ammonium salts possessing pH-independent aqueous solubilities far exceeding that of the parent tertiary amine (up to a factor of 3200 at pH 8). A moderate reduction in solubility with increasing length of the alkyl chain was observed for the iodide salts of the N-alkylated bupivacaine derivatives. In case of the N-methyl-bupivacaine derivative variation of the counterion had a significant impact on the solubility with the iodide salt being 200 times less soluble than the chloride salt. X-ray analysis revealed that both the alkyl substituent and the anionic counterion influenced salt packing modes, however, in an unpredictable manner making establishment of quantitative correlations between crystal packing and solubility difficult even for a series of closely related derivatives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Research areas

  • Alkylation, Bupivacaine, Molecular Structure, Salts, Solubility, Water

ID: 40371137