Previous studies with perzinfotel (1), a potent, selective, competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, showed it to be efficacious in inflammatory and neuropathic pain models. To increase the low oral bioavailability of 1 (3-5%), prodrug derivatives (3a-h) were synthesized and evaluated. The oxymethylene-spaced diphenyl analogue 3a demonstrated good stability at acidic and neutral pH, as well as in simulated gastric fluid. In rat plasma, 3a was rapidly converted to 1 via 2a. Pharmacokinetic studies indicated that the amount of systemic exposure of 1 produced by a 10 mg/kg oral dose of 3a was 2.5-fold greater than that produced by a 30 mg/kg oral dose of 1. Consistent with these results, 3a was significantly more potent and had a longer duration of activity than 1 following oral administration in a rodent model of inflammatory pain. Taken together, these results demonstrate that an oxymethylene-spaced prodrug approach increased the bioavailability of 1.