Metabolic and Pharmaceutical Aspects of Fluorinated Compounds

By Benjamin M. Johnson, Yue-Zhong Shu, Xiaoliang Zhuo, and Nicholas A. Meanwell
J of Medi. Chem.
March 24, 2020
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b01877

The applications of fluorine in drug design continue to expand, facilitated by an improved understanding of its effects on physicochemical properties and the development of synthetic methodologies that are providing access to new fluorinated motifs. In turn, studies of fluorinated molecules are providing deeper insights into the effects of fluorine on metabolic pathways, distribution, and disposition. Despite the high strength of the C–F bond, the departure of fluoride from metabolic intermediates can be facile. This reactivity has been leveraged in the design of mechanism-based enzyme inhibitors and has influenced the metabolic fate of fluorinated compounds. In this Perspective, we summarize the literature associated with the metabolism of fluorinated molecules, focusing on examples where the presence of fluorine influences the metabolic profile. These studies have revealed potentially problematic outcomes with some fluorinated motifs and are enhancing our understanding of how fluorine should be deployed.

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