Purpose: The antinociceptive and immunosuppressive effects of codeine and codeine 6-glucuronide were determined in rats after intracerebroventricular administration.
Methods: Codeine 6-glucuronide was synthesized using a modification of the Koenigs-Knorr reaction. A lipophilic intermediate formed during synthesis, methyl [codein-6-yl-2,3,4-tri-O-acetyl-beta-D-glucopyranosid] uronate, was also tested. Morphine was used as a positive control to compare antinociceptive potencies of these compounds.
Results: All compounds tested produced significant analgesic responses, as assessed by the tail flick model. Additionally, codeine 6-glucuronide showed significantly less immunosuppressive effects than codeine in vitro.
Conclusions: We conclude that codeine 6-glucuronide and related compounds may have clinical benefit in the treatment of pain in immune compromised patients.