MINNEAPOLIS - A recent discovery by researchers at the University of Minnesota and The Dow Chemical Company could help oral medicines work better.
The patent-pending find is a new method that helps oral medications dissolve in the body and be absorbed into the bloodstream. The materials discovered in the study could allow life-saving drugs to work faster and more efficiently. It could also lower the cost of medication production.
Currently, drug companies add substances, called excipients, to help the medicines dissolve in the stomach and intestinal fluid. But medication, on a molecular level, is not easily dissolved, leading to an increase in dosage for a patient and possible increase in side effects.
Funded by Dow, researchers examined two medications—phenytoin, an anti-seizure drug, and nilutamide, a drug used to treat advanced-stage prostate cancer. The team used equipment at Dow to synthesize new excipients. When they tested phenytoin with the new excipient in rat models, it promoted drug absorption three times better.
The research discovery is one result of a five-year collaboration between Dow and the University of Minnesota for research partnerships to develop new chemical solutions, improve research facilities, and train the next generation of scientists.
The research is published in the current issue of the American Chemical Society's ACS Central Science, a leading journal in the chemical sciences.