prodrug

noun

pro·​drug ˈprō-ˌdrəg How to pronounce prodrug (audio)
plural prodrugs
: a pharmacologically inactive substance that is converted in the body (as by enzymatic action) into a pharmacologically active drug
… an enzyme that transforms an inactive drug molecule, or prodrug, into an active anticancer agent.Scientific American Cancer Smart
One source of the variability is the metabolism of clopidogrel, which is a prodrug requiring biotransformation to generate its active metabolite.Jessica L. Mega
… an orally administered prodrug of ganciclovir that provides improved bioavailability.Bernard A. Schwetz

Examples of prodrug in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On the other hand, Modafinil is not a prodrug and is directly used by the body. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2023 Adrafinil | Review of Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects Adrafinil is a prodrug of modafinil with a similar chemical structure. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2023 That would suggest that GS-5245, as an oral prodrug, is designed to deliver to a body’s cells GS-441524 — a technology that Gilead has long had access to. Mary Hui, Quartz, 6 July 2022 Chinese scientists found a creative way around Gilead’s patent, modifying GS-441524 through a process called deuteration, and filed a patent application for their new prodrug VV116 as early as April 2020. Mary Hui, Quartz, 6 July 2022 Sadly for Heil, the prodrug-converting stem cells weren’t enough. Elie Dolgin, Discover Magazine, 22 July 2015

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prodrug.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1968, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prodrug was in 1968

Dictionary Entries Near prodrug

Cite this Entry

“Prodrug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prodrug. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

prodrug

noun
pro·​drug ˈprō-ˌdrəg How to pronounce prodrug (audio)
: a pharmacologically inactive substance that is the modified form of a pharmacologically active drug to which it is converted (as by enzymatic action) in the body
One source of the variability is the metabolism of clopidogrel, which is a prodrug requiring biotransformation to generate its active metabolite.Jessica L. Mega et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association
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