Prodrug is an inactive form of drug which needs conversion in the body to one or more of its active metabolites. The metabolite form is the one which is active and is capable of producing the desired reaction.
Advantages of Prodrug: It offers advantages over the active form in being more stable, having better bioavailabilty and other desirable pharmaco-kinetic properties or less side effects and toxicity.
List of Prodrugs and their Respective Active forms:
- Levodopa: Dopamine (Active form)
- Enalapril: Enalaprilat (Active form)
- S-methyldopa: Alpha methylnorepinephrine (Active form)
- Dipivefrine: Epinephrine (Active form)
- Sulindac: Sulfide metabolites (Active form)
- Hydrazide MAO inhibitors: Hydrazine derivatives (Active form)
- Proguanil: Proguanil triazine (Active form)
- Prednisone: Prednisolone (Active form)
- Becampicillin: Ampicillin (Active form)
- Sulfasalazine: 5-Aminosalicyclic acid (Active form)
- Cyclophosphamide: Aldophosphamide, Phosphormide mustard (Active form)
- Fluouracil: Fluororidine monophosphate (Active form)
- Mercaptopurine: Methymercaptopurine ribonucleotide (Active form)
Pro drugs are used in certain conditions when the drug in action cannot reach the desired site and the inactive form helps the active form in reaching the desired site of action.