Kinetics and mechanism of degradation of Zileuton, a potent 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor

Pharm Res. 1992 Nov;9(11):1465-73. doi: 10.1023/a:1015819115075.


Zileuton (N-(1-benzo[b]thien-2-ylethyl)N-hydroxyurea) is a powerful 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor. The chemical degradation of Zileuton and related hydroxyurea derivatives was studied in aqueous solutions as a function of pH and temperature. The pH profile for the degradation of Zileuton shows an acid-catalyzed region at pH values below 2, water hydrolysis of the protonated form at pH values from 3 to 8, and water hydrolysis of the unprotonated form at pH values greater than 9. Hydrolysis of the hydroxyurea moiety to give the hydroxylamine derivative represents the main degradation pathway for Zileuton. This product, however, is not stable and is present at low concentrations at pH values below 6 and not observed at pH values greater than 7. Further decomposition of the hydroxylamine derivative leads to the observed degradation products. Air oxidation to the isomeric oximes accounts for the observed products at pH values greater than 7. Hydrolysis of the oximes to the ketone derivative accounts for the observed products at pH values 2 to 6. Parallel decomposition pathways to the alcohol derivative were noted under strongly acidic conditions, pH 0 to 2.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drug Stability
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Hydroxyurea / analogs & derivatives*
  • Hydroxyurea / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Temperature


  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors
  • zileuton
  • Hydroxyurea