The Deuterium atom (D) can slow the rate at which the body metabolizes drugs. It is found naturally in the human body and is safe for use as a component of therapeutic drugs. Since deuterium and protium have very similar chemical properties, deuterium can substitute for protium in the manufacture of certain drugs.
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Thus, deuterium does not materially alter the drug’s therapeutic benefit criteria. Metabolic studies have shown that deuterium-containing drugs or deuterated drugs generally retain full potency and effectiveness, but the slower metabolism of deuterium-containing drugs often allows scope for longer effective benefit, smaller or less frequent dosages and fewer side effects of the drug. How does deuterium slow the metabolism rate of a drug? Deuterium forms a stronger chemical bond within the drug molecule than does protium. Since drug metabolism often involves the breaking of such C-H chemical bonds, a stronger bond C-D means slower drug metabolism.
D2O is used to create many compounds labeled with deuterium including deuterated intermediates for pharmaceuticals.
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