Objectives URB937, a peripheral fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor, exerts profound analgesic effects in animal models. We examined, in rats, (1) the pharmacokinetic profile of oral URB937; (2) the compound's ability to elevate levels of the representative FAAH substrate, oleoylethanolamide (OEA); and (3) the compound's tolerability after oral administration. Methods We developed a liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS-MS) method to measure URB937 and used a pre-existing LC/MS-MS assay to quantify OEA. FAAH activity was measured using a radioactive substrate. The tolerability of single or repeated (once daily for 2 weeks) oral administration of supramaximal doses of URB937 (100, 300, 1000 mg/kg) was assessed by monitoring food intake, water intake and body weight, followed by post-mortem evaluation of organ structure. Key findings URB937 was orally available in male rats (F = 36%), but remained undetectable in brain when administered at doses that maximally inhibit FAAH activity and elevate OEA in plasma and liver. Acute and subchronic treatment with high doses of URB937 was well-tolerated and resulted in FAAH inhibition in brain. Conclusions Pain remains a major unmet medical need. The favourable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of URB937, along with its tolerability, encourage further development studies on this compound.
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