Effects of pharmaceutical PEGylation on drug metabolism and its clinical concerns

PEGylation refers to covalent conjugation of one or more polyethylene glycol chains to a drug molecule. It also refers to formulation of a drug into PEGylated drug-delivery vehicles in pharmacy. It is well-known that PEGylation can greatly influence the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs.

PEGylation is an effective approach to potentiate drugs with undesirable properties. Currently, PEGylation has penetrated into every field of pharmaceutical practice, involving biomacromolecules, small drugs and drug delivery systems. Efficacy enhancement is attained through modification of the pharmacokinetics and toxicity profiles of parent drugs. As a result of PEGylation, the drugs tend to display enhanced solubility, prolonged circulatory time and reduced immunogenicity/antigenicity. The bottleneck of PEGylation is how to break through the limitation of chemical conjugation and to properly preserve the pharmacological activity of the drug. PEGylated formulation is an area deserving more attention in terms of systemic delivery of insoluble small drugs.

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