Reduced antinociception of opioids in rats and mice by vaccination with immunogens containing oxycodone and hydrocodone haptens

J Med Chem. 2013 Feb 14;56(3):915-23. doi: 10.1021/jm3013745. Epub 2013 Jan 15.


Prescription opioids abuse and associated deaths are an emerging concern in the USA. Vaccination against prescription opioids may provide an alternative to pharmacotherapy. An oxycodone hapten containing a tetraglycine linker at the C6 position (6OXY(Gly)(4)OH) conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) has shown early proof-of-efficacy in rodents as a candidate immunogen (6OXY(Gly)(4)-KLH) for the treatment of oxycodone abuse. In this study, oxycodone-based and hydrocodone-based haptens were conjugated to KLH to generate immunogens that would recognize both oxycodone and hydrocodone. Vaccination with 6OXY(Gly)(4)-KLH increased drug binding in serum, reduced drug distribution to brain, and blunted analgesia for both oxycodone and hydrocodone. An analogous C6-linked hydrocodone vaccine blocked hydrocodone effects but less so than 6OXY(Gly)(4)-KLH. C8-Linked hydrocodone immunogens had only limited efficacy. Amide conjugation showed higher haptenation ratios and greater efficacy than thioether conjugation to maleimide activated KLH (mKLH). The 6OXY(Gly)(4)-KLH vaccine may be used for treatment of prescription opioid abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Haptens*
  • Hydrocodone / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Oxycodone / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / administration & dosage*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Haptens
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone