PolyMorphine: An innovative biodegradable polymer drug for extended pain relief

Roselin Rosario-Meléndez, Carolyn L. Harris, Roberto Delgado-Rivera, Lei Yu, Kathryn E. Uhrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Morphine, a potent narcotic analgesic used for the treatment of acute and chronic pain, was chemically incorporated into a poly(anhydride-ester) backbone. The polymer termed PolyMorphine, was designed to degrade hydrolytically releasing morphine in a controlled manner to ultimately provide analgesia for an extended time period. PolyMorphine was synthesized via melt-condensation polymerization and its structure was characterized using proton and carbon nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies, and infrared spectroscopy. The weight-average molecular weight and the thermal properties were determined. The hydrolytic degradation pathway of the polymer was determined by in vitro studies, showing that free morphine is released. In vitro cytocompatibility studies demonstrated that PolyMorphine is non-cytotoxic towards fibroblasts. In vivo studies using mice showed that PolyMorphine provides analgesia for 3 days, 20 times the analgesic window of free morphine. The animals retained full responsiveness to morphine after being subjected to an acute morphine challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-544
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 28 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


  • Biodegradable
  • Extended release
  • Morphine
  • Pain treatment
  • Polymer
  • Prodrug


Dive into the research topics of 'PolyMorphine: An innovative biodegradable polymer drug for extended pain relief'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this