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New discovery may make oral medicines more effective

By
Ryan Maass
Scientists say improving how oral medications dissolve in the bloodstream can make the drugs work faster and more efficiently. Photo by freestocks.org/Pexels
Scientists say improving how oral medications dissolve in the bloodstream can make the drugs work faster and more efficiently. Photo by freestocks.org/Pexels

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A collaborative research team says it has developed a method for making oral medications cheaper and more effective.

The team was comprised of scientists from the University of Minnesota and the Dow Chemical Company. The study, published in the journal ACS Central Science, was conducted to determine how to improve how oral medicines dissolve into the bloodstream. Researchers say their discovery can allow life-saving drugs to act faster.

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"A way to explain the differences in solubility of medicines is to think of how sugar easily dissolves in water and is rapidly absorbed by your digestive system, whereas sand doesn't dissolve in water and if swallowed, would pass right through the digestive system," lead researcher Theresa Reineke explained in a press release.

During the study, the team examined how to make drugs more soluble using excipients, which enable substances to dissolve in stomach and intestinal fluid. Investigators used automated equipment to synthesize long-chain molecules, and analyzed two medications including phenytoin, an anti-seizure drug, and nilutamide, which is used to treat prostate cancer.

By dissolving the drugs in simulated intestinal fluid, they were able to identify a specific excipient. The results were repeated using a rat model. Scientists say the approach used in the experiment can be replicated for developing additional treatments.

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"While we were pleased with the results with these specific drugs, the most important thing is that we have developed a high throughput methodology for excipient development that could be used by many companies to create other life-saving medicines," Reineke added.

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